“They pretend to serve God to serve money. They are the hidden exploiters who are socially flawless, but under the table they do business, even with people: it doesn't matter. Human exploitation is selling one's neighbor."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - May God convert those who "sell" others in this moment of need. This was Pope Francis’ introductory prayer at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta.
"We pray today - he said - for people who in this time of pandemic traffic in the needy: they take advantage of the needs of others and sell them: the mafia, usurers and many more. May the Lord touch their hearts and convert them."
In his homily he commented on the passage of the Gospel (Mt 26, 14-25) which speaks of the betrayal of Judas to underline that even today there are people who betray for their own interests.
"When we think - he said - of selling people, the trade made with slaves from Africa to bring them to America comes to mind – something from the past - or, for example, the trade of the Yazidi girls sold by Daesh: but it is far away from us, it is one case ... People are sold today too. Everyday. There are Judas who sell their brothers and sisters, exploiting them in their work, not paying them a just wage, not recognizing their duties ... Indeed, they often sell the dearest things. Just think, so as to be more comfortable some are capable of removing their parents and not see them anymore, to put them in a safe home and not to go and see them ... they sell them out. There is a very common saying that, when referring to people like this, they say of them 'he is capable of selling his own mother': and they do, they sell her. Now they are sorted, they are removed. 'You take care of them ...' ".
“Today the trade in humans like in the early days: it is done. And why this? Jesus said why. We gave money nobility. Jesus said: 'You cannot serve God and money', two lords. It is the only thing that Jesus places before us, and each of us must choose: either serve God, and you will be free in adoration and service, or serve money, and you will be a slave to money. This is the option and many people want to serve God and money. And this cannot be done. Eventually they pretend to serve God to serve money. They are the hidden exploiters who are socially flawless, but they do business under the table, even with people: it doesn't matter. Human exploitation is selling one's neighbor. "
Francis continued referring to Judas that we only know that Jesus wanted him to be his disciple. "He never managed to be." "He was weak in discipleship, but Jesus loved him ... Then the Gospel makes us understand that he liked money: at Lazarus' house, when Mary anointed Jesus' feet with that expensive perfume, he reflects and John underlines: 'But he doesn't say it because he loved the poor: rather because he was a thief. The love of money had led him outside the rules, to steal, and from stealing to betrayal there is a step, a little one. Anyone who loves money too much cheats to have more, always: it's a rule, it's a fact. " And Judas sold Jesus. "In my opinion, this man was out of his mind."
"One thing that attracts my attention is that Jesus never says" traitor" to him; he says he will be betrayed, but does not say "traitor" to him. He never says: 'Go away, traitor'. Never! Indeed, he says to him: 'Friend', and kisses him. The mystery of Judah ... What is the mystery of Judah? I don't know ... Don Primo Mazzolari explained it better than I ... Yes, it comforts me to contemplate that capital [a work of sculpture – ed] by Vezelay: how did Judas end? I do not know. Jesus threatens strongly here; he makes a strong threat: 'Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed: better for that man if he had never been born!'. But does this mean that Judas is in Hell? I do not know. I look at the capital. And I hear the word of Jesus: 'Friend'. "
"But this - added Francis - makes us think of another thing, which is more real, more than today: the devil entered Judas, it was the devil who led him to this point. And how did the story end? The devil is a poor payer: he an unreliable payer. He promises you everything, shows you everything and in the end leaves you alone in your desperation to hang yourself. The restless heart of Judas, tormented by greed and tormented by love for Jesus, a love that failed to make love, tormented with this fog, returns to the priests asking for forgiveness, asking for salvation. 'What have we got to do with it? It's yours ... ": the devil speaks like this and leaves us in despair".
“We think of the many institutionalized Judas in this world who exploit people. And we also think of the little Judas that each of us has within us in the hour of choosing: between loyalty or interest. Each of us has the ability to betray, to sell out, to choose for one's own interest. Each of us has the opportunity to let ourselves be attracted by the love of money or goods or future well-being. 'Judas, where are you?' But the question I ask each of us: 'You, Judas, the little Judas I have inside: where are you? "
The Pope ended the celebration with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and blessing, inviting all to spiritual communion.