Pope Francis warns against the idolatry present in greedy hearts, stressing that the Lord gives us our gifts for the betterment of the world.
“This greed makes you sick, because it makes you think of everything in terms of money. It destroys you,” the Pope told those gathered in the chapel of the Vatican's Saint Martha guesthouse Oct. 21.
In his reflections, the pontiff centered on the Gospel passage in which a man approaches Jesus asking him to help resolve a dispute with his brother surrounding their inheritance, stressing that the story illustrates the problems we face in our relationship with money.
“This is a day-to-day problem. How many families have we seen destroyed by the problem of money? Brother against brother, father against son.”
“This,” he urged, “is the first result that this attitude of being attached to money does: it destroys! When a person is attached to money, he destroys himself, he destroys the family. It binds you.”
Highlighting the good qualities money can have, the pontiff stressed that it brings about many necessary things and contributes greatly to “human development,” however, “when your heart is attached in this way, it destroys you.”
Turning towards the parable which Jesus tells in the Gospel of the rich man who stores up treasures for himself, “but is not rich in what matters to God,” Pope Francis noted that Jesus’ warning is to guard against any form of greed.
“That’s what does harm: greed in my relationship with money,” he urged, “it leads you to idolatry, it destroys your relationship with others.”
“It destroys you, it makes you sick.”
Pope Francis stressed that the most important thing to remember is that greed is a tool of idolatry “because it goes along a way contrary to what God has done for us.”
Referring to the words of Saint Paul in his letters when tells us that Jesus, who was rich, became poor in order to enrich us, the pontiff urged that the path of God is “humility, to lower oneself in order to serve.”
“Greed, on the other hand, takes us on a contrary path: You, who are a poor human, make yourself God for vanity's sake. It is idolatry!”
This is why Jesus warns us so frequently against the attachment to money, the Pope said, adding that we cannot “serve two masters,” and that we should not worry because “God knows what we need.”
Jesus, noted the pontiff, invites us to a “trusting abandonment to the Father,” rather than placing our trust in something which is “contrary to the path of God.”
“The Lord teaches us the path: not the path of poverty for poverty's sake. No! It is the way of poverty as an instrument, so that God may be God, so that He will be the only Lord!”
“All the goods that we have, the Lord gives them to us to advance the world,” stressed the Pope, “to advance humanity, to help, to help others.”
“Today may the Word of the Lord remain in our hearts: 'Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.'”
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