Pope: Christians must keep away from vanity, ambition and greed
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday warned that there are people in the Church
that follow Jesus for vanity or thirst for power and wealth, and he prayed the Lord
to give us the grace to follow him for love.
The Pope was speaking during morning
Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni...
took his cue from the Gospel reading of the day in which Jesus tells a group of people
who were looking for him that they are doing so “ not because you saw signs, but
because you ate the loaves and were filled”.
This episode, the Pope said, invites
us to ask ourselves whether we are following the Lord for personal gain or because
we love Him, because, he said, we are all sinners, and we need to make an effort and
look into ourselves in the way we live our Faith.
Jesus – Pope Francis pointed
out – mentions three attitudes that we must avoid when we follow God or search for
Him. The first – he said – is vanity. In particular he refers to those who are in
public positions who give alms or fast because they want to be seen doing so:
is not the right attitude. Vanity is not good, vanity causes us to slip on our pride
and everything ends there. So I ask myself the question: and me? How do I follow Jesus?
When I do good, do I do it under the public eye, or do I do it in private?”
And the Pope said, “I also think of pastors, because a pastor who is vain does
not do good to the people of God: even if he is a priest or a bishop, he does not
follow Jesus if he is besotted by vanity”.
And the other attitude Jesus warns
against – the Pope continued – is thirst for power:
“Some of those who follow
Jesus do so in search of power. Perhaps they do not do so with full consciousness.
A clear example of this is to be found in John and James, the sons of Zebedee who
asked Jesus to seat them in places of honour, one on His right and one on His left
in his Kingdom. And in the Church there are climbers, people driven by ambition! There
are many of them! But if you like climbing go to the mountains and climb them: it
is healthier! Do not come to Church to climb! And Jesus scolds people with this kind
of ambitious attitude in the Church”.
And Pope Francis noted that
only when the Holy Spirit came, did the disciples change. But, he warned, sin remains
in our Christian lives and we must continue to ask ourselves the question: “in what
way do I follow Christ? Only for Him, even to the Cross, or do I do it for power?
Do I use the Church, the Christian community, the parish, the diocese to gain some
The third thing that takes us away from the righteousness of our
intentions – Pope Francis said – is money:
“Those who follow Jesus for money,
trying to take economic advantage of the parish, of the diocese, of their Christian
community, of the hospital, or the college… Let us think of the first Christian community
that was swayed by this intention: Simon, Ananias and Sapphira… this has been a temptation
right from the beginning. And since, we have heard of so many good Catholics, good
Christians, friends and benefactors of the Church that – it has been revealed -
acted for personal profit. They presented themselves as benefactors of the Church
and made money on the side…”
Pope Francis concluded asking the Lord for
the grace to follow Jesus with the right intentions: without vanity, without desire
for power, without lusting for wealth.