It happens, he said, "so many times in the market of history, in the market of our lives, when we choose the 30 coins and leave Jesus aside or we look at the Lord who is being sold." And, at times, "we do almost the same thing with our brothers, friends and among ourselves."
"It happens when we speak badly of one and other," and this is to sell, and "the person about whom we speak becomes merchandise. And with what ease we do this! It is the same thing that Judas did."
"I don't know why, but there is a dark joy in gossip," the Holy Father lamented. And he warned: "Every time we criticize the other unmercifully we do the same that Judas did."
"Never speak badly of others," the Pontiff exhorted.
On betraying Jesus, Judas had a closed heart, he had no understanding, no love, no friendship, the Pope reflected. And when we speak badly of others we have no love, no friendship, and everything becomes a market, we sell our relatives and friends.
"And when we speak badly of a friend we do it to Jesus. Let us ask for the grace not to criticize anyone unmercifully, not to speak badly of anyone," exhorted the Holy Father. And if we realize that someone has defects let us not do justice with our tongue, but pray to the Lord asking Him to help him.
After Mass, Pope Francis went to the interior of St. Peter's Basilica where he greeted Vatican employees gathered for a Mass traditionally held on the Wednesday of Holy Week, celebrated today by Cardinal Angelo Comastri.
The Pope thanked them for the work they do in the Vatican. Addressing those present he recounted an anecdote of Blessed John XXIII: "Once an ambassador asked him: 'Holiness, tell me how many work in the Vatican,' and John XXIII answered: 'Half.'"
"I'm sure you are that half that works," he said.
"Thank you very much! I want to thank you for this Mass of Prayer: pray for one another, as brothers," he added. "I want to thank you for the work you do in the Vatican sometimes unperceived, not seen, but it goes on. Thank you very much. And I also want to thank your colleagues who have not been able to come because they are working now."
And he made a request: "Pray for me because I need it. I am also a sinner like everyone else. And I want to be faithful to the Lord."