Pope Francis warned Christians against having double lives, displaying an outer facade of light but having darkness in their hearts. He urged them to walk in the light and not tread dark paths, saying God’s truth cannot be found there. The pope’s remarks came during his homily at Mass celebrated on Friday morning in the Santa Marta residence.
Taking his cue from the reading of St. John’s First Letter, Pope Francis reflected on the eternal struggle against sin, saying we must be pure like the Father but even if we sin we can count on his pardon and his tenderness. He stressed the Apostle’s warning to believers to tell the truth and not have double lives, saying one thing but doing another.
“If you say you are in communion with the Lord, then walk in the light. But no to double lives! Not that! That lie that we are so used to seeing and where we too sometimes fall (into temptation), don’t we? To say one thing and do another, right? It’s the never ending temptation. And we know where that lie comes from: in the Bible, Jesus calls the devil ‘the father of lies,' the liar. It’s for this reason that this grandfather says with infinite tenderness and meekness to the ‘adolescent’ church: ‘Don’t be a liar! You are in communion with God, walk in the light. Do works of light, don’t say one thing and do another. No to double lives and all that.”
Noting how John began his letter with the greeting, ‘children,’ Pope Francis said this affectionate beginning is just like the tone of a grandfather towards his ‘young grandchildren’ and reveals the tenderness and light contained in this reading. It also recalls Jesus’ words when he promised “rest” to all those “who labour and are overburdened.” In the same way, the pope continued, John urges his readers not to sin but if somebody does, to not be discouraged by this.
“We have a Paraclete, a word, an advocate, a defender at the Father’s side, it’s Jesus Christ, the Upright One. He makes us righteous. It is He who pardons us. A person may feel like saying to this grandfather who gives us this advice: ‘But is it such a bad thing to have sins?’ ‘No, a sin is a bad thing! But if you have sinned, look at who is waiting to pardon you.’ Always! That’s because he, our Lord, is greater than our sins.”
The pope concluding by saying this is God’s Mercy and his greatness and it’s from him alone that we can get our strength.
“We must walk in the light because God is Light. Don’t walk with one foot in the light and the other in darkness. Do not be liars. And one other thing: we have all sinned. Nobody can say: ‘This man is a sinner, this woman is a sinner.’ I, thanks to God, am upright.’ No, only one is upright, he who paid for us. And if somebody sins, he is waiting for us and pardons us because he is merciful and knows very well what we are shaped from and remembers that we are but dust. May the joy that this letter gives us, carry us forward in the simplicity and the transparency of the Christian life, above all when we turn to the Lord… with truth.”