Blasphemy is the gravest sin, Pope Francis says
Pope Francis delivers the Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square, June 15, 2015. L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO
June 11, 2018
VATICAN— During his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis discussed the incomprehension Christ faced during his earthly ministry, from both the scribes and his own family.
The scribes’ assertion that Christ drove out demons by the power of demons led him to “react with strong and clear words, he does not tolerate this, because those scribes, perhaps without realizing it, are falling into the gravest sin: negating and blaspheming the Love of God which is present and working in Jesus.”
“And blasphemy, the sin against the Holy Spirit, is the only unpardonable sin – so Jesus says – because it starts from a closure of the heart to the mercy of God acting in Jesus,” the pope said June 10 in St. Peter’s Square.
The scribes who blasphemed were sent from Jerusalem to discredit Christ, Francis said, “to make the office of talkers, discredit the other, remove authority, this ugly thing.”
“This episode contains a warning that serves all of us,” he reflected. “It may happen that a strong envy for the goodness and for the good works of a person can lead one to accuse it falsely. Here there is truly a deadly poison: the malice with which, in a premeditated way, one wants to destroy the good reputation of the other.”
If we find this envy in us during our examination of conscience, “let us immediately go to confession,” he advised, “before it develops and produces its evil effects, which are incurable. Be careful, because this attitude destroys families, friendships, communities, and even society.”
Francis then turned to the incomprehension of Christ’s extended family, who “were worried because his new itinerant life seemed crazy to them. In fact, he showed himself so available to people, especially to the sick and sinners, to the point that he no longer even had time to eat. Jesus was like this: people first, serving people, helping people, teaching people, healing people … His family, therefore, decide to bring him back to Nazareth, to his home.”
When told his family was outside looking for him, Christ replied that “who does the will of God, he is a brother, sister and mother for me.”
Christ “formed a new family, no longer based on natural bonds, but on faith in him, on his love that welcomes us and unites us among us, in the Holy Spirit,” Pope Francis said. “All those who accept the word of Jesus are sons of God and brothers among themselves. Welcoming the word of Jesus makes us brothers among us, makes us the family of Jesus.”
But “gossiping about others … makes us the family of the devil.”
The pope noted that Christ’s response to his family looking for him “is not a lack of respect for his mother and his family.”
“Indeed, for Mary it is the greatest recognition, because she is the perfect disciple who has obeyed the will of God in everything. May the Virgin Mother help us to live in communion with Jesus, recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit acting in him and in the Church, regenerating the world to new life.”