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Pope Francis: Acceptance of the Lord’s Love Frees Us from the Seduction of Riches


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Diane Montagna - published on 10/11/15

Pontiff also expresses deep sorrow after "terrible massacre" in Turkey

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VATICAN CITY — Only by accepting the Lord’s love with “humble gratitude” do we free ourselves from the “seduction of idols and the blindness of our illusions,” Pope Francis said on Sunday.

In his address before reciting the Angelus prayer, the Pope warned that “money, pleasure, and success dazzle but then disappoint; they promise life but procure death.”

He said the Lord asks us to “detach ourselves from these false riches, to enter into real life, a full life, one that is authentic, luminous.”

The Holy Father was reflecting on Sunday’s Gospel reading from Mark chapter 10, which recounts Jesus’ encounter with the “rich young man.” He divides the reading into three scenes, punctuated by “three gazes of Jesus.”

He began with the first scene when, after the young man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, the Lord looks on him with an “intense gaze [Pope’s italics], full of tenderness and affection.”

The Lord “realized he was a good guy,” the Pope said, but he also understands his “weak point” and presents him with a “concrete proposal”: to give “all his possessions to the poor and follow him.”

But the young man’s heart is “torn between two masters: God and money and he goes away sad,” the Pope continued. “This shows that he cannot live the faith with an attachment to wealth,” he said, and his momentum fades into the “sadness of defeat.”

In the second scene, Jesus’ second gaze is a “thoughtful look” at his disciples. He says how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, and is asked: “Who then can be saved?”. Jesus, the Pope recalled, responds with his third gaze, “a look of encouragement [Pope’s italics].” Salvation, the Lord says, is “impossible with men but not with God.” Reliance of the Lord, the Pope added, allows us to overcome all obstacles to follow the path of faith.

Lastly, in the third scene, Jesus makes a solemn declaration: that those who leave home and his relatives for Him and the Gospel will “receive a hundred times as much” in this present age and in eternity. This “hundredfold”, the Pope said, comes from depriving oneself of goods in exchange for the “true good”, that by “freeing ourselves from the slavery of things we gain the freedom to serve for love.”

Reflecting on the Gospel reading, the Pope said the young man “did not allow himself to be won over by Jesus’ loving gaze, and therefore could not change.” Only by accepting with “humble gratitude the love of the Lord do we free ourselves from the seduction of idols and the blindness of our illusions,” the Pope said.

Then speaking off the cuff to the young people present in St Peter’s Square, the Pope asked, “have you felt Jesus’ gaze on you? What do you say to that? Do you prefer to leave this square with the joy that Jesus gives us or the sadness caused by worldliness?”

Following the Angelus prayer Pope Francis said he had received “with great sorrow” news of the “terrible massacre” which took place in Ankara, Turkey. The bombing killed 95 people and left hundreds injured.

The Pope spoke of his pain for those who were killed and wounded in the explosions. He also said there was sorrow because the attackers struck defenseless people who were demonstrating for peace.

The Pope made the appeal following the Angelus in St Peter’s Square asking the Lord to welcome the souls of the dead and to comfort the suffering and their families.

Following his words, Pope Francis invited all those present in the Square to pray for a moment in silence for the victims of the blasts.

Diane Montagnais Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.

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