Pope: May the Lord help us trust and overcome today’s fears
“Idolatry leads people towards the wrong religiosity; indeed, many times worldliness, which is a [form of] idolatry, makes people turn the celebration of a sacrament into a worldly feast.” Like a wedding. “People don’t know if it is a sacrament – where newlyweds really give their all, love each other before God, promise to be faithful before God, and receive the grace of God – or a catwalk of models” centred on “how they are dressed, one and the other”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis introduced a prayer before the Mass he celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta calling on God to help us show trust and overcome the fears that surround us at a time shaped by the ongoing epidemic.
At a time of “so much suffering, there is so much fear,” said Francis. It is “The fear of seniors alone in nursing homes, or hospitals, or in their own homes, and don't know what will happen; the fear of those without regular jobs, concerned about how to feed their children, and see hunger coming; the fear of many social servants who are presently keeping society functioning and might get sick. There’s also the fear, the fears, of each one of us. We each know our own fears. Let us pray to the Lord that He might help us trust, be tolerant, and conquer these fears.”
In his homily, centred on the story of the golden calf (Ex 32:7-14), Francis spoke about the idols of the heart, stressing how idolatry makes us lose everything. The story describes the mutiny of the people, "bored" because Moses was late returning from Sinai, asking Aaron to make him a god to help them go on.
“Aaron, who later became a priest of God but was then a priest of stupidity, of idols, said: ‘But yes, give me all the gold and silver you have,’ and they gave him all of it and he made that golden calf’.” This is “true apostasy! From the living God to idolatry. They did not have patience to wait for Moses to come back; they wanted something new, they wanted something, a liturgical show, something ...”
“Let me say something about this. First of all, the nostalgia for idolatry in the people: In this case, they thought about the idols of Egypt, but the nostalgia of going back to idols, going back to something worst, of not knowing how to wait for the living God. This nostalgia is a disease, which we too have. We start walking with the enthusiasm of those who are free, but then complaints begin: ‘Well, it is a tough time, the desert; I am thirsty, I want water, I want meat ... but in Egypt we ate onions, the good stuff, which isn’t here ... ' Idolatry is always selective: it makes you think about the good things that it gives you but it doesn't make you see bad things. In this case, they thought about how they were at the table, such good meals, so good they loved it so much, but they forgot that what they had at the table was slavery. Idolatry is selective.”
"Another thing: idolatry makes you lose everything. To make the calf, Aaron asked them: 'Give me gold and silver': But it was the gold and silver that the Lord had given them when he said to them: 'Ask the Egyptians for gold on loan,' and then they went with them. This is a gift from the Lord and they make the idol with the gift from the Lord. This is very bad. This mechanism also happens to us: when we have attitudes that lead us to idolatry, we are attached to things that distance us from God, because we create another god and do it with the gifts the Lord gave us. With intelligence, with will, with love, with heart ... we use the Lord's own gifts to make idolatry."
"Yes, some of you might say to me: ‘I have no idols at home. I have the Crucifix, the image of Our Lady, which are not idols ... ' No, no: [you have them] in your heart. The question we should ask today is: What is the idol you have in your heart, in my heart. That hidden outlet where I feel good, which takes me away from the living God. We also have a very clever attitude towards idolatry: We know how to hide idols, as Rachel did when she ran away from her father and hid them in the camel’s saddle and in the clothes. We too have hidden many idols among our favourite clothes.”
“The question I would like to ask today is: what is my idol? My idol of worldliness ... Idolatry also touches piety, because they wanted the golden calf not to make a circus: no. They wanted it to worship it: ‘They prostrated themselves before it. Idolatry leads people to a wrong religiosity; indeed, many times worldliness, which is a [form of] idolatry, makes people turn the celebration of a sacrament into a worldly feast. An example: I don't know, I think, we think, I don't know, let’s imagine a wedding celebration. People don’t know if it is a sacrament – where newlyweds really give their all, love each other before God, promise to be faithful before God, and receive the grace of God – or a catwalk of models [centred on] how they are dressed, one and the other ... [This is] worldliness. It is idolatry. This is an example. Because idolatry does not stop; it always goes on.”
“Today the question I would like to ask all of us, everyone, is: What are my idols? Everyone has their own. What are my idols. Where do I hide them? May the Lord not find us, at the end of life, and tell each of us: ‘You are perverted. You strayed from the path I had pointed out [for you]. You prostrated yourself before an idol’.”
In concluding, the pontiff said: “Let us ask the Lord for the grace to know our idols. If we can't chase them away, at least let us keep them in the corner ... "
At the end of the celebration, the Pope called on people to perform spiritual communion. “My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire you in my soul. Since I cannot receive you sacramentally now, at least spiritually come into my heart. As I have already received you, I embrace you and I wholly join you. Don't let me ever separated from you.”