“We should pray so that the heart of these young people can be emptied, emptied from other interests, from other loves, so that the heart can become free."
During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray for vocations free from the idolatries of this world. The Holy Father based his homily on today’s Gospel from St. Mark, which recalled the meeting between Jesus and the rich young man.
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” the young man asks Christ. The Pope noted that although the young man was good man who observed the commandments, he wanted more. “The Holy Spirit urged him,” the Pope said.
The Gospel recounts that Jesus told him to sell his goods, give the money to the poor and follow him. Upon hearing this, the rich young man went away sad.
“His heart was restless, because of the Holy Spirit that urged him to come closer to Jesus and follow him, it was a full heart, and he did not have the courage to empty it,” the Pope explained.
“And he made the choice: money. A heart full of money…But he wasn’t a thief, a criminal: no, no, no! He was a good man: he never robbed, never! He never swindled: it was honest money. But his heart was imprisoned there, he was tied to money and he did not have the freedom to choose. Money made the choice for him.”
The Holy Father went on to compare the rich young man’s dilemma with the struggle today’s youth go through in answering God’s call. Many who do feel the call resist because their hearts “are full of other things” and do not have the courage to empty it.
“We should pray so that the heart of these young people can be emptied, emptied from other interests, from other loves, so that the heart can become free,” he said. “And this is the prayer for vocations: ‘Lord, send us, send us nuns, send us priests, defend them from idolatry, from the idolatry of vanity, from the idolatry of pride, from the idolatry of power, from the idolatry of money.’ And our prayer is to prepare these hearts to be able to follow Jesus closely.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis urged the faithful to pray for young people who have a vocation today so that “they may be free and not be slaves” to their idolatries.
“We should help them so that they may grow, so that the Lord can enter in those hearts and give this indescribable and glorious joy that each person who follow Jesus closely has,” he said. (J.A.E.)