Pope Francis leads his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Jan. 18. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope's homily: ‘Christians need to overcome a self-centred mindset’

By  Vatican Radio
  • January 20, 2017

Pope Francis has called on Christians to overcome the self-centred mindset of the doctors of the law who know only how to condemn. His words came at the morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta.

Taking inspiration from the Letter to the Hebrews, Pope Francis said the new covenant which God makes with us in Jesus Christ renews our heart. God renews all things “from the roots, not only in appearance”, he said. “This new covenant has its own characteristics.” First, he said, “the law of the Lord is not an external way of acting”; rather, it enters the heart and “changes our mindset”, as well as causing “a change of heart, a change of feeling, of way of acting, and a different way of looking at things.”

Overcoming the egotistical mentality of the doctors of the law who know only how to condemn

The Holy Father offered the example of a work of art, which an architect can behold either with cold envy or with joy and goodness.

“The new covenant changes our heart and allows us to see the law of the Lord with this new heart, with this new mindset. Consider the doctors of the law who persecuted Jesus. These men did everything prescribed by the law. But their mindset was distanced from God. Theirs was an egotistical mindset, focused on themselves: their hearts constantly condemned [others]. The new covenant changes our hearts and minds. There is a change in mindset.”

God forgives our sins; the new covenant changes our lives

The Lord, he added, “goes ahead” and assures us that God will pardon our iniquity and remember no longer our sins. “At times, I like to think about joking with the Lord: ‘You don’t have a good memory!’ This is the weakness of God: when God forgives, He forgets.”

“He forgets, because he forgives. Before a penitent heart, He forgives and forgets: ‘I will forget, I will not remember their sins’. But this too is an invitation not to remind the Lord of our sins, that is, to not sin any more: ‘You have forgiven me, you forgot.’ A change of life, a new covenant renews me and changes my life, not only the mindset and heart, but my life. To live without sin, far from sin: this is to recreate. This is how the Lord recreates us.”

The Lord changes our hearts to change our mindset

In conclusion, the Pope spoke about the ‘change of appearance’. He said, “We belong to God, other gods do not exist… A change of mindset changes the heart, life, and appearance.” He reiterated that this “is the recreation, which the Lord makes even more glorious than the first Creation.”

He then exhorted Christians to follow through with this covenant and to be ever true to it.

“The seal of this covenant is faithfulness, to be faithful to this work which the Lord has completed to change our mindset, to change our hearts. The prophets said, ‘But the Lord will change your heart of stone into a heart of flesh’: To change one’s heart and life and to sin no more, not reminding the Lord that He has forgotten our sins.”

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