Authority is about consistency and testimony – Pope Francis

epa08127462 A handout picture provided by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis (L) during the mass in St. Marta, Vatican City, 14 January 2020. EPA-EFE/VATICAN MEDIA HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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“Jesus taught as one having authority”. As Jesus preaches in the synagogue, the evangelist focuses on the reaction among the people to His way of acting with “authority”, unlike that of the scribes. The Pope thus explains the difference that exists between “having authority” or the “inner authority” of Jesus and the authority of the scribes who exercise it but “without having it”. Despite being experts in teaching the law and listened to by the people, they were not credible.

The Pope said that the authority of the Lord is one of “lordship” with which He moved about, taught, healed and heard the people. This lordship that came from within, demonstrates the consistency between His teaching and His actions. The Pope said it is this consistency, this testimony that gives authority to a person. Hence, authority is seen in constancy and testimony.

On the contrary, the Pope pointed out, the scribes were not consistent, which is why Jesus admonished the people to “do what they say but not what they do”. Jesus also did not miss an opportunity to reproach the scribes because “with this attitude”, the Pope said, they had fallen into a “pastoral schizophrenia”, saying one thing and doing something else. At times, in the Gospels, Jesus sometimes puts them in a corner, does not give them any answers or just describes them.

The Pope explained that the people of God who are very tolerant can recognize the power of grace.

The Pope said that the people of God can distinguish well between a person’s authority and the grace of anointing. They can make out a confessor after the heart of Christ. “This,” the Holy Father said, “is the wisdom of our people, who many times tolerate many inconsistent pastors like the scribes and even Christians who go to Mass every Sunday and then live like pagans.”  People can easily recognize a scandal and inconsistant behaviour.  Inconstant Christians who don’t give witness and inconsistent and schizophrenic pastors who don’t give witness, do much harm, the Pope said.

He thus prayed that all baptized may have the “authority” that “does not consist in commanding and making oneself heard, but in being consistent, being a witness and for this reason, being companions on the way of the Lord”.

Vatican News 

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