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Monday, October 12, 2015

Angelus: faith and attachment to wealth cannot coexist

Vatican City, 12 October 2015 (VIS) – At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Francis reflected on the day's reading, from Chapter 10 of the Gospel of St. Mark, which is divided into three scenes corresponding to three gazes of Jesus. The first scene presents the encounter between the Teacher and the young man who asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”. “Eternal life is not only the life of the hereafter, but it is also full life, complete and limitless”, said the Pope. “Jesus' response translates into an intense gaze full of tenderness and affection”. He understands the youth's weakness and answers that he must “give everything he has to the poor and follow Him. But the youth's heart is divided between two masters: God and money, and he goes away sad. This shows us that faith and attachment to riches cannot coexist. Thus, in the end, the initial impulse felt by the youth vanishes in the unhappiness of an invitation to follow that fails”.

In the second scene, Jesus gaze is pensive, and warning. Looking around Him, He says to His disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”. Seeing the wonder of his disciples, who ask, “Then who can be saved?”, Jesus responds with a gaze of encouragement – this is the third gaze – and says, salvation, yes, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. If we trust in the Lord, we can overcome all the obstacles that prevent us from following Him on the path of faith. To entrust oneself to the Lord. He will give us strength; He will give us salvation; He will accompany us along the journey”.

Finally, the third scene is that of Jesus' solemn declaration. “I assure you that he who leaves everything to follow me will have eternal life in the age to come and a hundred times more now in this present age”. The Pope explained, “This 'hundred times more' is made up of the things that are first possessed and then left, but which are found infinitely multiplied. We deprive ourselves of goods and receive in exchange the joy of the true good; we free ourselves from slavery to things and we win the liberty of service out of love; we renounce possession and attain the happiness of giving. As Jesus said, 'There is more joy in giving than receiving'”.

“Only in welcoming with humble gratitude the Lord’s love do we free ourselves from the seduction of idols and the blindness of our illusions. Money, pleasure and success dazzle us, only to disappoint us later. They promise life but bring death. The Lord asks us to detach ourselves from these false riches to enter into true life, a full life, that is authentic and luminous”. Before imparting his blessing, the Pope asked those present if they had felt Jesus' gaze upon them, and how they would want to respond. “Do you prefer to leave this square with the joy that Jesus gives us, or with the sadness in your heart that worldliness offers us?”, he said, asking Our Lady to help open our heart to Jesus' love.

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