MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
Never speak poorly of others
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n.
14, 3 April 2013)
Speaking poorly of someone else is equivalent to selling them.
Like Judas, who sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. And it was precisely by
drawing inspiration from the Gospel passage from Matthew which foretells the
betrayal of Judas Iscariot that Pope Francis — in his brief Homily at the Mass
he celebrated on Wednesday morning, 27 March, in the Chapel of the Domus
Sanctae Marthae — put people on guard against gossip with an explicit
invitation: “Never speak poorly of others”.
Present at the celebration, as has now become a tradition, were
several Vatican employees including a group from the Office of Papal Charities
and a group from the Vatican Telephone Service, accompanied respectively by
Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Almoner of His Holiness, and Fr Fernando Vérgez Alzaga,
Director of Telecommunications, both of whom concelebrated.
The Pope wanted to leave them a thought on the action of Judas,
one of Jesus' friends, who did not hesitate to sell him to the chief priests.
“Jesus was like a commodity; he was sold. He was sold at that moment”, the Pope
emphasized, “and has also very frequently been sold in the market of history, in
the market of life, in the market of our lives. When we opt for thirty pieces of
silver, we set Jesus aside”.
When we visit an acquaintance and the conversation turns into
gossip, into back-stabbing and the person at the centre of our babbling “becomes
a commodity. I do not know why”, the Pope said further, “but there is some
arcane pleasure in scandalmongering”. We begin with kind words, “but then comes
the gossip. And we begin to tear the other person to pieces”. And it is then
that we must remember that every time we behave like this, “we are doing what
Judas did”; when he went to the chief priests to sell Jesus, his heart was
closed, he had no understanding, no love and no friendship. Thus Pope Francis
took up one of his favourite themes, forgiveness. “We think of and ask for
forgiveness”, because what we do to the other, to our friend, “we do to Jesus.
Because Jesus is in this friend”. And if we realize that our gossiping can hurt
someone, “let us pray the Lord, let us speak to the Lord about this, for the
good of the other: Lord, help him”. So it must not be me, he therefore concluded,
“who does justice with my own tongue. Let us ask the Lord for this grace”.
At the end of the celebration the Holy Father lingered at the
back of the chapel in prayer. He then waited at the door to greet one by one
everyone who had come: for everyone he had a word, a smile, an encouragement and
good wishes for Easter, now at hand.