Speaking in a homily on February 20, Pope Francis denounced those who exploit and mistreat their employees, despite outward signs of piety.
 
During a daily Mass celebrated at his Santa Marta residence, Pope Francis reflected that Christians during Lent should not only fast and pray, but must also help those in need. The pontiff said that true fasting comes from the heart. Love of God and love of neighbor are one and the same, said the Pope, “And in the tablets of the law, there’s the law towards God and the law towards our neighbour and both of these go together.  I can’t say: ‘But no, I follow the three commandments first and the others more or less.’ No, if you don’t follow one, you can’t follow the other and if you follow one you must follow the other.  They are united: Love of God and love of our neighbour is one and the same thing and if you want to show genuine and not just formal penance, you must show it before God and also towards your brothers and towards your neighbour.”
 
 
Moreover, Francis gave the example of the pious who attend Mass every Sunday and receives communion. He asked whether they pay their  employees in cash under the table, maybe a salary below the going rate and without making the necessary social security contributions? “So many men and women of faith, have faith but then divide the tablets of the law. ‘Yes, I do this’ – ‘But do you practice charity?’ – Yes of course, I always send a cheque to the Church’ – ‘Ok, that’s good. But at your home, within your own Church, are you generous and are you fair with those  who are your dependents  - be they your children, your grandparents, your employees?’  You cannot make offerings to the Church on the shoulders of the injustice that you practice towards your dependents.  This is a very serious sin: using God as a cover for injustice.”  

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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