Christians cannot hide their lives from Jesus, Pope Francis has said. Instead, they must recognize their sins and trust in the mercy of God.

During the season of Lent, the Pope said, we should ask ourselves: "Does Jesus trust me, or do I lie to him?" Do I behave as a Catholic who then "lives as a pagan?" One might say "Jesus does not know, no one will tell him." But he knows.

"We cannot fool Jesus," the Pope said, because "he knows us from within."

His comments came in a Sunday homily to the congregation of the Roman parish of Santa Maria Madre del Redentore, Holy Mother Mary of the Redeemer, during a March 8 pastoral visit to the suburb of Tor Bella Monaca.

"Jesus knows all that which is within our hearts," the pontiff continued. "We cannot fool Jesus," pretending "to be holy, and close his eyes" and leading a life contrary to what He desires.

Pope Francis said we would do well to "enter into our hearts and gaze at Jesus," who sees the good and the bad, and ask him: "Do you trust me? I am a sinner."

The pontiff said that unless a person has a righteous heart, loves those who need love, and follows the Beatitudes, he is not Catholic, but a hypocrite.

"Open your heart to the mercy of Jesus!" the pontiff said.

Pope Francis reflected on the scene from the Gospel of John in which Jesus overturns the tables in the Temple of Jerusalem, driving away the merchants and money-changers.

As Jesus found the Temple filled with "filth," so also we find in our hearts selfishness, arrogance, pride, greed, envy, and jealousy.

The Pope said Christians should ask the Lord to come and "clean our souls," as he cleansed the Temple.

In the Gospel account, Jesus used a whip to drive out the money changers, the Pope said.

The "whip" with which he cleanses the soul, however, is mercy.

When we open our heart to mercy, whereby "our heart, our soul" is cleansed, the Pope concluded, "Jesus will trust in us."