Pope Francis reflects on the priests' decision to pay off the guards; Mass intention is for those who will guide the post-pandemic policies
In his morning homily of April 13, Pope Francis said that, like the chief priests on that Easter Sunday morning, we have a choice: To decide between life or death, to choose for God or for the corruption of money.
The Gospel of today presents us with a choice, a daily choice, a human choice that has continued since that day: the choice between joy and the hope of Jesus’ resurrection, or nostalgia for the tomb.
The Holy Father noted how the women believed and shared the news that “Jesus has risen and is alive among us.”
But there is the other option, he said, considering the choice faced by the chief priests: “This empty tomb will bring us so many problems. And the decision to hide the facts.”
The pope reflected on what is recounted in the Gospel of today:
While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.
“It’s the same as always,” Pope Francis said. “When we don’t serve God, the Lord, we serve the other god, money. Let us recall what Jesus said: there are two lords, the Lord God and the lord money. You can’t serve both. And to bypass this evidence, this fact, the priests and doctors of the law chose the other path, the one offered them by lord money, and they bought, they bought silence. The silence of the witnesses. One of the guards had confessed when Jesus had just died: ‘This man was truly the Son of God.’
These poor people [the guards] don’t understand and they are scared because their lives are in danger … and they went to the priests, to the doctors of the law. And they [the priests] payed them off. They bought their silence. And this, dear brothers and sisters, is not bribery. This is pure corruption. …When we have the evidence and we take this path, this is the path of the devil, the path of corruption. To be paid and to stay silent.
The pope reflected that the same choice faces us now. “Even today, before the upcoming — and we hope soon — upcoming end of the pandemic, there is the same choice: Either we choose life, the resurrection of the people, or we choose the god of money: to return to the tomb of hunger, slavery, war, the production of arms, children without education … there is the tomb.”
The Holy Father prayed that God would help us, “both in our personal life and in our social life, help us to always choose the proclamation, the proclamation that is the horizon, being open, always. May he guide us to choose for the people. And never fall into the tomb of the money god.”
Pope Francis’ Mass intention was for the “government leaders, scientists, and politicians who have begun to study the exit, the post-pandemic, this ‘afterward’ that has already begun: so that they find the right paths, always in favor of persons, always in favor of the people.”