Pope: Sin is a rebellious act, not just a stain that needs cleaning

Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Oct. 4. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-AUDIENCE-MISSIONARIES-HOPE Oct. 4, 2017.

VATICAN CITY—Sin is a rebellious act against God that requires more than just a trip to the dry cleaners to wipe clean, Pope Francis said.

“If it was a stain, it would be enough to take it to the laundromat and have it cleaned. No! Sin is a rebellion against the Lord,” the pope said in his homily Oct. 6 during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The pope reflected on the day’s first reading from the prophet Baruch (1:15-22), in which the Jewish exiles in Babylonian captivity expressed sorrow and shame for having “sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed him.”

Like the exiles, Christians must also recognize their own sinfulness and not hastily claim that they are righteous before God, the pope said.

“I would say that it is our first name: sinner,” he said. “Why are we sinners? We have disobeyed — always in relation with the Lord. He said one thing and we have done another. We did not listen to the voice of the Lord.”

Pope Francis said that recognizing sin’s ugly nature as an act of rebellion “against the Lord who is good” can lead to true repentance through shame, which opens the door to healing.

“Shame is a grace,” the pope said. “When the Lord sees us this way — ashamed of what we have done and asking forgiveness with humility — he is the all-powerful one: he erases (sin), he embraces us, he caresses us and he forgives us.”

By Junno Arocho Esteves / Catholic News Service

CNS/Paul Haring: Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 4.