Pope’s Morning Homily: ‘Worldly’ People Can’t Truly Celebrate

At Casa Santa Marta, Says Money and Power of the World Can Give Excitement or Amusement, But True Joy Comes Only From Covenant

 

Pope Francis celebrates Morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae

PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Just as we ready for a season of celebrations, Pope Francis is reminding that those who indulge in worldliness are unable to truly celebrate, since the best the spirit of the world can offer is mere amusement.

True joy comes from the Covenant, the Holy Father said this morning at Casa Santa Marta, reported Vatican Radio.

The Holy Father reflected on the reading from Maccabees (below), which tells of the people’s joy following the reconsecration of the Holy Temple, and the rekindling of their identity as a people.

In contrast, those “who indulge in worldliness do not know how to celebrate – they can’t celebrate!” the Pope said.

“At most, the worldly spirit can provide amusement; it can provoke excitement, but true joy can only come from faith in the Covenant,” he explained.

The Gospel reading from today (below) recounts the cleansing of the temple, with the attitudes of the money-changers in stark opposition to the rejoicing of the Maccabees.

“The Gospel says the chief priests and scribes had changed things,” the Pontiff said. “They had dishonored and compromised the Temple. They had dishonored the Temple!”

The Temple is a symbol of the Church, the Holy Father said, and the Church “will always – always! – be subject to the temptation of worldliness and power. Jesus did not say ‘No, do not do this inside. Go outside instead.’ He said ‘You have made it a den of thieves!’ And when the Church enters into such a state of decline, the end is bad. Very bad indeed.”

Pope Francis said the danger of corruption within the Church arises when “the Church, instead of being devoted to faith in Our Lord, in the Prince of Peace, in joy, in salvation, becomes dominated by money and power. This is exactly what happens here, in this Gospel reading. These priests, chief priests and scribes were driven by money, power and they ignored the Holy Spirit. And in order to be able to justify their actions, they poisoned the free spirit of the Lord with hypocrisy.”

The Pope said that in the 23rd chapter of St. Matthew, Jesus speaks of their hypocrisy: “These were people who had lost their sense of godliness, and even the ability to rejoice, to praise God. They did not know how to worship the Lord because they were too distracted by money and power, and by a form of worldiness.”

“Jesus did not chase the priests and scribes away from the Temple; he chased away those who were doing business there, the businessmen of the Temple. The chief priests and scribes were involved in their dealings: this is ‘holy bribery’! The Gospel is very clear. It says ‘The chief priests and scribes wanted to kill Jesus, along with the elders of the people’. The same thing happened under the rule of Judas Maccabeus.”

But where Jesus is, there is no room for worldliness, the Pope said. 

“There is no room for corruption! This is a challenge for each and every one of us; this is the struggle the Church has to face every day. We must always heed Jesus’ words;  we must never seek comfort from another master. Jesus told us that we cannot serve two masters. God or riches; God or power.”

The Pope concluded, saying “We ought to pray for the Church. We must hold in our hearts today’s martyrs, who suffer and die, so as not to be ensnared by worldly desires, by obsession, by apostasy. Today! Today, there are more martyrs of the Church than there ever were before. Let’s think about that. It does us good to think about them. And also to pray that we may never fall into the trap of worldliness, where we will be obsessed only by money and power.”

Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 501

Reading 1

1 MC 4:36-37, 52-59

Judas and his brothers said,

“Now that our enemies have been crushed,

let us go up to purify the sanctuary and rededicate it.”

So the whole army assembled, and went up to Mount Zion.

 

Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month,

that is, the month of Chislev,

in the year one hundred and forty-eight,

they arose and offered sacrifice according to the law

on the new altar of burnt offerings that they had made. 

On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled it,

on that very day it was reconsecrated

with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals.

All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven,

who had given them success.

 

For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar

and joyfully offered burnt offerings and sacrifices

of deliverance and praise.

They ornamented the facade of the temple with gold crowns and shields;

they repaired the gates and the priests’ chambers

and furnished them with doors.

There was great joy among the people

now that the disgrace of the Gentiles was removed.

Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel

decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar

should be observed with joy and gladness

on the anniversary every year for eight days,

from the twenty-fifth day of the month Chislev.

Responsorial Psalm

1 CHRONICLES 29:10BCD, 11ABC, 11D-12A, 12BCD

R. (13b) We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

“Blessed may you be, O LORD,

God of Israel our father,

from eternity to eternity.”

R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

“Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power,

majesty, splendor, and glory.

For all in heaven and on earth is yours.”

R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

“Yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty;

you are exalted as head over all.

Riches and honor are from you.”

R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

“You have dominion over all,

In your hand are power and might;

it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all.”

R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

Alleluia

JN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;

I know them, and they follow me.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

LK 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out

those who were selling things, saying to them,

“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,

but you have made it a den of thieves.”

And every day he was teaching in the temple area.

The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,

were seeking to put him to death,

but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose

because all the people were hanging on his words.

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