Pope's Morning Homily: Religion Isn't an Insurance Agency

At Casa Santa Marta, Says We Can’t Put Our Security in Wealth

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Jesus is not against wealth, says Pope Francis, but he warns against putting one’s security in money, and trying to make of religion an «insurance agency.»

This was the theme of the Pope’s homily this morning at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, reported Vatican Radio.

We cannot serve two masters, the Holy Father reminded. Either a person serves God, or he serves money, Francis said and, drawing from the Gospel reading, he lamented that attachment to wealth is divisive.

“Let us consider how many families we know, whose members have fought, who are fighting, who don’t [even] say ‘Hello!’ to each other, who hate each other – all for an inheritance.»

In these cases, he said, «the love of family, love of children, siblings, parents – none of these is the most important thing – no, it’s money – and this destroys … even wars, wars that we see today: yes, sure there is an ideal [over which people fight], but behind that, there is money; money for arms dealers, the money of those who profit from the war.»

The Pope reflected that all of us likely know a family divided over money.

«Jesus is clear,» he said. «‘Be careful and stay away from all kinds of greed: it is dangerous.’»

Greed, he said, «gives us a security that is not true.» 

Jesus tells the parable of a rich man, “a good entrepreneur,” whose “fields had yielded an abundant harvest,” and who was “full of riches,” and, “instead of thinking: ‘But I will share this with my workers, with my employees, that they also might have a little more for their families,’ thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, seeing that I have nowhere to put my crops? Ah, so I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones.’ More and more: the thirst that comes from attachment to riches never ends. If you have your heart attached to wealth – when you have so much – you want more. This is the god of the person who is attached to riches.”

Pope Francis went on to say that the road that leads to salvation is that of the Beatitudes. “The first is poverty of spirit,” he said, saying that if one has riches, he musn’t be attached to them, but place them at the service of others, “to share, to help many people to make their way.” 

The sign that tells us we have not fallen into “this sin of idolatry” is almsgiving, giving to those in need – and not giving merely of our abundance, but giving until it costs me “some privation” perhaps because “it is necessary for me.» 

“That’s a good sign: it means that one’s love for God is greater than one’s attachment to wealth.” The Pope proposed that there are three questions that we can ask ourselves:

“First question: ‘Do I give?’

«Second: ‘How much do I give?’

«Third question: ‘How do I give?’ Do I give as Jesus gives, with the caress of love, or as one who pays a tax? How do I give?

«‘But Father, what do you mean by that?’

«When you help someone, do you look that person in the eye? Do you touch that person’s hand? Theirs is Christ’s own flesh, that person is your brother, your sister. At that moment you are like the Father who does not leave the birds of the air to go without food. With what love the Father gives! Let us ask God for the grace to be free of this idolatry, the attachment to wealth: let us ask the grace to look at Him, so rich in His love and so rich in generosity, in His mercy; and let us ask the grace to help others with the exercise of almsgiving, but as He does it. ‘But, Father, He has not let Himself be deprived of anything!’ Jesus Christ, being equal to God, deprived Himself of this: He lowered Himself, He made Himself nothing – [yes,] He too deprived Himself of something.”

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