Pope Francis: Rigidity is Not a Gift of God

via Vatican News:

Drawing inspiration from the Gospel reading of the day which tells of when Jesus, who was teaching in the synagogue, healed a crippled woman and ignited the anger of the righteous, Pope Francis said “it is not easy to keep to the path indicated by God’s Law.

The reading by Matthew tells us that Jesus’ action provoked the fury of the leader of the synagogue who was “indignant that he had cured the woman on the Sabbath” because – he said – Jesus had violated God’s Law by doing so on the Sabbath day which is set aside for rest and worship.

And pointing out that the Jesus responded calling the leaders of the synagogue ‘hypocrites’, the Pope observed that this is an accusation Jesus often makes to those who follow the Law with rigidity. “The Law – he explained – was not drawn up to enslave us but to set us free, to make us God’s children”.

Concealed by rigidity, Pope Francis said, there is always something else! That’s why Jesus uses the word ‘hypocrites!’:

“Behind an attitude of rigidity there is always something else in the life of a person. Rigidity is not a gift of God. Meekness is; goodness is; benevolence is; forgiveness is. But rigidity isn’t!” he said.

In many cases, the Pope continued, rigidity conceals the leading of a double life; but, he pointed out, there can also be something pathological.

Commenting on the difficulties and suffering that afflict a person who is both rigid and sincere, the Pope said this is because they lack the freedom of God’s children: “they do not know how to walk in the path indicated by God’s Law”.

“They appear good because they follow the Law; but they are concealing something else: either they are hypocritical or they are sick. And they suffer!” he said.