Pope Francis has urged Christians and Catholic faithfuls in particular to use the lent period to cut down on gossiping about others.
Pope Francis gave the charge during the Angelus prayer recently at the parish of St. Crispin in Labaro, a suburb on the northern edge of Rome.
“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?” Pope Francis asked.
“We all know it usually is easier or more comfortable to notice and condemn the defects and sins of others rather than seeing our own with that kind of clarity.”
Concise News understands that the Pope returned to the passage during his parish visit, telling parishioners that Jesus “wants to teach us to not go around criticizing others, not go looking for others’ defects, but look first at your own.
“If someone were to say, “but, Father, I don’t have any,” the pope said he would explain that “I assure you if you don’t notice you have any here, you’ll find them in purgatory! It’s better to notice them here.”
He added that people are found of criticizing others even when they are guilty of the same offence.
“It’s something that because of original sin we all have, and it leads us to condemn others,” the pope said. “We are experts in finding the bad things in others and not seeing our own.”
Also speaking, the President of Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) Bishop Augustine Akubeze urged Christians to pray more during the period.
“As we, Christians, begin the Lenten Season on Ash Wednesday, I call on all of us to be conscious of the three pillars of Lent; fasting, alms giving and prayers,” he said in Abuja on Tuesday.
“Let us all be involved in these spiritual exercises. Through fasting, we are able to conquer our concupiscence, and recognise that God has given us the power to overcome all temptations.
“Through almsgiving, we are able to share our resources with those who are in need. This act helps us to know that we belong to one family of God,” he said.
The Bishop advised that political parties, ethnic differences, or religious differences should not be allowed to divide the country.
“There is only one God who is responsible for our being. For every act of kindness done through almsgiving, is done to Christ (Matthew 25:40).
“Through prayers, we come to realise our dependency on God.”