On the 20th February at Morning Meditation in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis said "Using God to cover up injustice is an extremely grave sin”. Pope Francis emphasized that Lent is not only about “not eating meat on Fridays”, meaning “doing some little things” while one’s “selfishness, exploitation of others, ignorance of the poor” grows.
To accompany the morning prayer that Friday, Pope Francis issued the above stern warning against social injustices of all kinds - employee exploitation, long hospital waits, people in prison. He called on us to consider how outwardly observing Lenten fasts should foster an inner transformation in us, that "bears fruit in the Spirit". So, the fast is not a formality but becomes real and concrete. Just as we will not fast from meat to dive into a banquet of fish, so we will not "torment" our workers: argue with them, exploit them; we will consider how we can provide for the needs of the poor and the marginalized where we are and pray for those who have fallen...
He reminded us of Jesus words:
“Do not fast any more as you did today, change your heart. And what is the fast that I choose? Dissolve the chains of wickedness, cut the thongs of the yoke, let the oppressed go free and break every yoke, share your bread with the hungry, bring the poor and the homeless into your house,
clothe those you see naked, without neglecting your kin”. This is “doing justice”, the Pope said, this “is true fasting, which is not only external, and outward observance, but a fast that comes from the heart”.
“Okay. But how is your relationship with your employees?
Do you pay them under the table?
Do you pay them a fair wage?
Do you make contributions for their pension? For their health and social security?...
But at your Church, at your home,
with those who depend on you,
whether they are your children,
your grandparents, your employees,
are your generous,
are you fair?”
Indeed, Pope Francis stated that we cannot “make offerings to the Church on the shoulders of injustice”. Quoting the Prophet Isaiah “One who does not do justice with the
people who are dependent on him is not a good Christian”, he added neither is one "who does not deprive
himself of something necessary in order to give it to another who is in need”.
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