Jesus is compassionate toward people and their imperfections without ever compromising the truth, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.
“May Jesus teach us to adhere to the truth from the heart and also (to show) with the heart great compassion and accompaniment for all our brothers and sisters in difficulty,” the pope said in his homily at the Mass with eight couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and another couple celebrating their 25th.
During the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae on 20 May, the pope focused on the day’s Gospel reading from St Mark (10:1-12) in which the Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a question about the lawfulness of divorce.
The Gospel talks about many traps the Pharisees and doctors of the law use in an attempt to ambush Jesus and undermine his authority and the esteem people hold for him, the pope said, according to Vatican Radio.
This “tiny little group of enlightened theologians”, who believe they possess “all the knowledge and wisdom of the people of God”, he said, set a trap for Jesus when they ask, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
But, he said, Jesus doesn’t fall for their “casuistry”, that is, the practice of setting general laws on the basis of exceptional cases.
Moses had conceded to allowing divorce, Jesus said, because of “the hardness of your hearts”, not because it reflected the original divine will of the creator.
Jesus describes marriage as God intended it by recalling the “fullness of the harmony of creation” – that God the creator made human beings male and female so that they may be joined as one body in marriage. What God has thus joined must not be separated by any human being, Jesus says, a response based on the “incontestable truth, the blunt truth,” the pope said.
“This is the truth about marriage, there is no other,” Pope Francis said.
“Jesus never bargains with the truth,” he said, but he is also very merciful and “never, never, never closes the door on sinners”. Jesus always draws a distinction between the truth and human weakness “without beating around the bush”.
Just as Moses recognised human limitations, Jesus, too, knows there is sin and people’s hearts can be hardened, the pope said.
But “you can do something: forgiveness, compassion, accompaniment, integration, discernment of these cases” without ever auctioning off the truth, he said.
“Jesus is able to say this truth that is so great and at the same time be so understanding with sinners, with the weak,” he said.