We need to pray so as not to be infected by the "virus" of hypocrisy, a self-righteous attitude that seduces with lies that lurk in the shadows. Pope Francis was referring to the words of Jesus in the Gospel, during his homily on Friday at Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
Hypocrisy does not have a color, rather it plays with halftones. It creeps in and seduces "chiaroscuro", with "the charm of the lie." The pope was referring to the scene portrayed by the scripture reading of the day from the Gospel of Luke - Jesus and the disciples are in the midst of a crowd who are trampling on eachother- highlighting the outspoken warning of Christ to his disciples: "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees." "It is a very small thing" yeast, observed Pope Francis, but Jesus talks about it as if to say "virus." As "a doctor" who says "to his collaborators" to pay attention to the risks of an "epidemic:"
"This yeast is a virus that will cause you to get sick and die. Beware! This yeast brings darkness. Beware! But there is one that is greater than this: it is the Father who is in heaven. 'Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Even the hairs of your head are all numbered.' And then, in the final exhortation: 'Do not be afraid! You are worth more than many sparrows.' In front of all these fears that leave us this way and that way, and that gives us the virus, the yeast of pharisaical hypocrisy, Jesus tells us: 'There is a Father. There is a Father who loves you. There is a Father who cares for you .'"
And there's only one way to avoid infection, says Pope Francis. It is the way indicated by Jesus: pray. It is the only solution, he concluded, to avoid falling into that ''self-righteous attitude that is neither light nor darkness," but is in the middle "of a journey that will never reach the light of God:"
"Let us pray. Please a lot. Lord, protect your Church, which is all of us: guard your people, that gathered and were trampling each other, each other. Protect your people, because you love the light, the light that comes from the Father, from your Father, who sent you to save us. Protect your people so they do not become hypocrites, they don't fall into a lukewarm kind of life. Look after your people because they have the joy of knowing that there is a Father who loves us so much."