In his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning, Pope Francis said that Christians are called to follow the example of the saints and martyrs, who did not give in to the temptation of seeking power.
According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel of St. John, in which a crowd seeks Jesus “not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.”
This attitude of self-interests, the Pope said is often seen in the Gospels, even among Jesus’ own disciples.
“The sons of Zebedee who wanted to be prime minister and the other the minister of the economy, to have power,” he noted. “That unction to bring to the poor good news, the liberation to prisoners, sight to the blind, freedom for the oppressed and announce a year of grace, as it becomes dark, it is lost and transforms into something of power.”
This temptation, the Pope continued, was also given to Jesus by the devil in the desert. The danger lies in passing from religious wonder to profiteering from it.
“This was also a proposal of the devil to Jesus in the temptations,” he said.
“One on bread, precisely. The other on the spectacle: ‘Let us make a beautiful spectacle so that all the people will believe in you.’ And the third, apostasy: that is, the adoration of the idols. And this is a daily temptation of Christians, ours, of all of us who are in the Church: the temptation not of the power, of the strength of the Spirit, but the temptation of worldly power. Thus one falls in that religious tepidness which brings you to worldliness, that tepidness that ends, when it grows, grows, grows, in that attitude that Jesus calls hypocrisy.”
The 78 year old Pontiff went on to say that Jesus calls on all to awaken with the witness of martyrs and saints who remind us of our mission to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
“The people understand Jesus’ reproach and tell him: ‘But what should we fulfil to do the works of God? Jesus says to them: ‘This is the work of God: that you believe in the One who He has sent’, that is, faith in Him, only in Him, trust in Him and not in other things that bring us far from Him. This is the work of God: that you believe in the One who He has sent, in Him,” the Pope said.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis prayed that Christ may give the faithful the grace to not fall into a spirit of worldliness. It is a spirit, he said, “that behind or under a varnish of Christianity, brings us to become pagans.”