Those who trust in themselves, in others and in their riches will ultimately lose their identity and dignity as a human. This was the theme of Pope Francis’ homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
“Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth,” the first reading from the prophet Jeremiah stated.
The Holy Father began his homily by contemplating on this passage from the Scripture, saying that a person who trusts only in those things is closed, without any hope of salvation. This is evidenced in the Gospel of Luke, which recalls Jesus’ parable of Lazarus. The Pope noted that while Lazarus has a name, the rich man does not.
“And this is the strongest curse of those who trust in themselves or in their strengths, in the possibilities of men and not in God: to lose their name? What is your name? This account number, in that bank. What is your name? This many properties, this many houses, this many…What is your name? The things we have, the idols,” the Pope said. A person’s trust in material goods, he went on to say, is what curses them.
“We all have this weakness, this frailty of placing our hopes in ourselves or in friends or only in human possibilities and we forget the Lord. And this takes us on the path of unhappiness.”
The Holy Father called on the faithful to take this time of Lent to reflect on where their trust is truly place. If one does realize that their trust is not in the Lord, there is hope. “Always in the end, there is a possibility,” he said. “And this man, when he realized that he lost his name, he lost everything, everything, he raises his eyes and says one word: ‘Father’. And the answer of God is one word: ‘Son!’,” he said.
“If some of us in life, after placing so much trust in man and in ourselves, end up losing our name, losing this dignity, there is still the possibility to say this word that is more than magic. It is more, it is strong: ‘Father’. He always waits for us to open a door that we do not see and will say to us: ‘Son’.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to ask for the grace to trust solely in God and not on human strength. (J.A.E.)