Reflecting on the Sunday Gospel reading, Pope Francis invites us to reflect on how we look at ourselves, others and how we express ourselves in order purify our gaze and our speech.
In his Sunday reflections before leading the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis recalled the Sunday Gospel where Jesus observed how we can sometimes focus only on the faults of others, while completely overlooking our own, noticing the speck in our brother’s eye and not noticing the beam in or own. The Pope said we often find reasons to blame others while justifying ourselves, whether we focus on what is wrong in society, the Church or our world, “without first questioning ourselves and without making an effort to change ourselves first.” Acting this way, we look blindly and cannot claim to be a guide or teacher for others.
“The Lord invites us to clean up our gaze. He first asks us to look within ourselves to recognize our failings.”
We must be capable of seeing our own weaknesses, the Pope said, or we will tend to only see the faults of others. And we must acknowledge our weakness so that “the door of mercy opens up to us.” After that, we can look at others with loving eyes, the way God sees us as “children who make mistakes”, distinguishing the person from his mistakes.
“God always believes in the person and is always ready to forgive errors. And he invites us to do likewise: not to look for evil in others, but good.”
Next, we need to focus on the content and tone of our speech, the Pope said, recalling that the Lord’s words, “out of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks.” The way we speak reveals what is in our hearts, he observed, and at times we overlook how we speak and the weight our words have for good or bad. Ideally, our words can express our thoughts and feelings honestly and respectfully, and bless God and others, he noted, while on the other hand, they can also feed prejudices, harm or even destroy our brothers and sisters through gossip or slander, which “can be sharper than a knife.” This is especially true in the digital world where communication is instant, he pointed out, where all too often we see anger, aggression and false news.
In conclusion, he encouraged everyone to be aware of and strive for “words that express care, respect, understanding, closeness, compassion,” rather than ones that aim only to make us look good or “pollute the world” through vitriol. May we look to Mary, “whose humility God has watched over…help us purify our gaze and our speech.”
Following the Angelus
After leading the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis appealed for prayers for the people of Ukraine and renewed his invitation to all to participate in the March 2, Ash Wednesday day of prayer and fasting for peace in the region. He called for the opening of humanitarian corridors to welcome mothers and their children, the elderly, and all those fleeing the violence. At the same time, he called on everyone to remember those suffering in ongoing conflicts in other parts of the world, such as Yemen, Syria and Ethiopia.
The Pope also recalled that in Granada, Spain, Fr. Gaetano Giménez Martín and fifteen companion martyrs, killed in odium fidei during the religious persecution of the 1930s in Spain, were proclaimed Blessed, praying these heroic disciples of Christ may awaken in everyone the desire to serve the Gospel with fidelity and courage. He also gave a special greeting to all those marking Rare Disease Day, offering his encouragement to patients, their families, and researchers working in this field to find cures and new types of care.
With thanks to Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.