Pope's Morning Homily: A Church That Becomes a Place of Business Is Scandalous

Says It Is a Pastoral Responsibility to Keep the Temple Clean

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“There are two things that the people of God cannot forgive: a priest attached to money and a priest who mistreats people. This they cannot forgive!» These were the words of the Holy Father during his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis reflected on today’s Gospel, which recalled Jesus driving out the merchants from the Temple. “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves,” Jesus says to the merchants.

«People are good,» he said, since «people went to the Temple and did not look at these things, they sought God and prayed … but they had to change their money into coins to make offers.»

Pope Francis said that those who sought to pray at the Temple were scandalized by the corruption of the merchants.

«When those who are in the Temple – be they priests, lay people, secretaries, […] become businessmen,» the Pope said, «people are scandalized.»

Laity, he continued, have a role to play in informing their parish priest of things that would cause scandal to others. Speaking on the scandal of «doing business,» he criticized wrong Church practices. «How often when we enter a church do we see – even today – do we see a price list hanging there «for baptism, blessings, Mass intentions. And people are scandalized.»

«When the Temple, the House of God, becomes a place of business,» this too is scandalous.

He clarified that «Jesus is not angry,» rather it is God’s wrath, because «either you worship the living God, or your worship money» and you cannot serve two masters.

Asking «Why does Jesus have an issue with money?» Francis responded: «Because redemption is free. It is God’s free gift, He comes to brings us the all-encompassing gratuity of God’s love.»

So when the Church or churches start doing business, he explained, then it is said that salvation is not free.

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis noted that today’s liturgy celebrates the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin in the Temple, and prayed that She «teach all of us, pastors and those who have pastoral responsibility, to keep the Temple clean, to receive with love those who come, as if each one were the Blessed Virgin.»

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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