Pope Benedict XVI has urged Catholics to practice what they preach.
“Christ urges us to combine humility with our charitable service towards our brothers and sisters. Indeed, may we always imitate his perfect example of service in our daily lives,” said the Pope to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday Angelus address Oct. 30.
The Pope reflected upon the gospel passage of the day in which Jesus tells the apostles to “do everything” the Pharisees teach as they “sit in Moses’ seat,” but not “to do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
“In today’s passage,” he said, Jesus “reproaches the scribes and Pharisees” who were teachers of the community “because their conduct was clearly contrary to the teaching which they rigorously offered to others.”
Hence “good teaching must be accepted, but may be contradicted by inconsistent conduct,” said the Pope.
“Jesus’ attitude is exactly the opposite,” Benedict XVI noted. “He practices the first commandment of love that teaches all, and can say that it is light and gentle because he helps us to carry it along with him.”
The Pope then warned against “masters who oppress the freedom of others in the name of their authority,” quoting the 13th century Italian theologian St. Bonaventure who said that no true teacher, “can teach or even work, or reach knowable truth without seeing the Son of God.” Thus it is Jesus who is our “one true and only teacher.”
“We, therefore, are called to follow the Son of God, the Incarnate Word, who expresses the truth of his teaching through fidelity to the will of the Father, through the gift of himself.”
The Pope also noted that Jesus “strongly condemns” vanity, as work that is “placed at the mercy of human approval,” can undermine “the values that underpin the authenticity of the person.”
“Dear friends,” the Pope concluded, “the Lord Jesus has been presented to the world as a servant” even to the point of being “giving himself totally on the cross,” which is our “most eloquent lesson in humility and love.”
After the Angelus Pope Benedict prayed for the victims of recent flooding in Thailand and Italy.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” said the Pope, “I express my closeness to the people of Thailand hit by serious flooding, as well as in Italy, to those of Liguria and Tuscany, recently damaged by the consequences of heavy rains.”
The floods in Thailand have already claimed almost 400 lives while in Italy nine people were killed last week in the northwest regions of Liguria and Tuscany.