Worldly powers that wish to make religion something private exists in this world. This was the warning Pope Francis gave this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
The Holy Father reflected on the first reading where Daniel is thrown in the Lion’s den for praying to God, while the Gospel recalled Jesus’ description of the end of days.
Speaking on the final battle described by Jesus, the Pope said that there is an underlying temptation that will be faced by all which he called “the universal temptation”: the desecration of the temple, the desecration of faith.
“What does this mean? It will be like the triumph of the prince of this world: the defeat of God. It seems that in that final moment of calamity, he will take possession of this world, that he will be the master of this world,” he said.
An example of this desecration of faith can be shown in the book of Daniel who is condemned to death for adoring God. This desecration has a specific name: “the prohibition of worship.”
“[There] religion cannot be spoken of, it is something private, no? Publicly it is not spoken about. Te religious signs are taken down. The laws that come from the worldly powers must be obeyed. You can do so many beautiful things except adore God. Worship is prohibited,” the Pope said.
“This is the center of this end. And when this arrives in its fullness - to the ‘kairos’ of this pagan attitude, when this is fulfilled - then yes, He will come: ‘And they will see the Son of man come on a cloud with great power and glory.’ Christians who have suffered in times of persecution, in times of the prohibition of worship are a prophecy of that which will happen to all.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to be loyal and patient. The times of persecution mean that that the victory of Jesus Christ is near.
“This week it will do us well to think of this general apostasy, which is called the prohibition of adoration and ask ourselves: ‘Do I adore the Lord? Do I adore Jesus Christ, the Lord? Or is it half and half, do I play the play the prince of this world,” he said. “To adore till the end, with loyalty and faithfulness: this is the grace that we should ask for this week.” (J.A.E.)