Worldly attachment to wealth will not be carried with us to heaven and potentially could damage our lives on earth. During his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis warned against the corrupting effects of greed and accumulating wealth for ourselves, observing this is at the root of wars and family divisions, reported Vatican Radio.
Recalling today’s Gospel reading where Jesus warned his disciples not to accumulate treasures on the earth but instead in heaven, Francis explored how greed and ambition pose many dangers.
They often corrupt and enslave our hearts, he said, when instead our hearts should be going toward the “common good.”
This human ambition which destroys and corrupts, the Pontiff added, is also at the root of wars. “There are so many wars in our world nowadays because of greed for power and wealth. We can think of the war in our own hearts. As the Lord said, ‘Be on your guard against avarice of any kind.’ Because greed moves forward, moves forward, moves forward… it’s like a flight of steps, the door opens and then vanity comes in — believing ourselves to be important, believing ourselves to be powerful… and then in the end pride (comes). And all the vices come from that, all of them. They are steps but the first step is avarice, that desire to accumulate wealth.”
Pope Francis admitted that it’s not easy for a politician or administrator to use resources for the common good. An honest one, he suggested, can be considered a saint.
“There’s one thing that is true, when the Lord blesses a person who has wealth, he makes him an administrator of those riches for the common good and for the benefit of everybody, not just for that person. And it’s not easy to become an honest administrator because there’s always that temptation of greed, of becoming important. Our world teaches you this and it takes us along that road. We must think about others and realize that what I own is for the benefit of others and nothing that I have now can be taken with me. But if I, as an administrator, use what the Lord gives me for the common good, this sanctifies me, it will make me a saint.”
Francis stressed the only treasures we should be storing up are the ones that have value in “the handbag of Heaven.”
“It’s difficult, it’s like playing with fire! So many people calm their consciences by giving alms and they give what they have left over. This is not an administrator,” the Holy Father said, noting, “The administrator’s job is to take (what is needed) for himself or herself and whatever is left over is given to others, all of it.”
Administering wealth, the Pope explained, requires a continual stripping away of our own interests and not believing that these riches will save us.
“It’s fine to accumulate riches, it’s fine to accumulate treasures,” Pope Francis said, “but only those who have a value, let’s say, in ‘the handbag of Heaven.’ That’s where we should be storing them up!”