Vatican City ( AsiaNews ) - We must follow Jesus "out of love" and not, as often happens, "to show off", nor out of a thirst for power or to make money, such as those who presented themselves "as benefactors of the Church, but instead took a lot of money and not always clean money". This was Pope Francis' warning at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on the Gospel passage in which Jesus rebukes the people who sought him out just because they had sated themselves after the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.
Vatican Radio reports the Pope invited those present to question whether they follow the Lord for love or for some benefit. "Because we are all sinners and there is always something we seek, that needs to be purified in following Jesus and we must work within ourselves to follow Him out of love". "Jesus mentions three attitudes that are not good in following Him, or seeking God. First is vanity". This refers to those notables, those "leaders" who give alms or fast just to be seen". These leaders wanted to be seen, they liked - to use the right word - they liked to show off and behaved like real peacocks! That's how they were. And Jesus said, 'No, no, this is wrong. Vanity is not good'. And sometimes, we do things to be seen, a little vain. This is dangerous, vanity, because it makes us immediately slip on pride, arrogance, and then everything ends up there. So I ask: How do I follow Jesus? The good things that I do, do I do them secretly or do I like to be seen doing them?". "And I also think of us, us pastors" because "a vain pastor is not good for the people of God": he may be he a priest or bishop, but "he does not follow Jesus" if "he is vain".
"The other thing that Jesus rebukes of those who follow him is power". "Some follow Jesus, a few, not entirely consciously, somewhat unconsciously, in search of power, no? The clearest is John and James, the sons of Zebedee, who asked Jesus for the grace to be the first minister and deputy prime minister, when the Kingdom comes. And there are climbers in the Church! There are so many, that are knocking at the door of the Church ... But if you like it [climbing], go north and climb the Alps, it is far healthier! Do not come to Church to climb! And Jesus rebukes those climbers who seek power". "Only when the Holy Spirit comes do the disciples change. But sin remains in our Christian life, and it would do us good to ask ourselves: How do I follow Jesus? For Him alone, even to the Cross, or do I seek power and use the Church a little', the Christian community, the parish, the diocese to have a little power?".
"The third thing that distances us from having good intentions is money". "Those who follow Jesus for the money, with money, trying to benefit economically from the parish, the diocese, the Christian community, hospital, college ... Think of the first Christian community, which was tempted in this way, Simon, Ananias and Sapphira ... This temptation was there from the beginning, and we have encountered so many good Catholics, good Christians, friends, benefactors of the Church, who even received so many different honors ... many! Only for it to be discovered that they had made obscure deals: they were real opportunists, and they made a lot of money! They presented themselves as benefactors of the Church, and took a lot of money and not always clean money".
"We ask the Lord for the grace - concluded the Pope - that the Holy Spirit give us to follow Him with good intentions: only Him. Without vanity, without the desire for power and without the desire for money".