06/20/2014, 00.00
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Pope: wealth, power and vanity chain the heart, which Jesus wants to free

As he reflected upon the idea of not laying "up for yourselves treasures on earth," Francis said that "the treasures of heaven - love, patience, service to others, worshipping God" - are "the true wealth that is not stolen". Other kinds of wealth weigh on the heart, "chain it, and do not give it freedom."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "If your treasure is in wealth, vanity, power, and pride, your heart will be chained there! Your heart will be the slave of wealth, vanity, and pride. What Jesus wants is for us to have a free heart. [. . .] We can have a free heart only with the treasures of heaven: love, patience, service to others, worshipping God," said Pope Francis today at the Mass he celebrated this morning at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

During the homily, the pope focused on Jesus who said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth". What Jesus advised to do is "to be prudent" because earthly possessions "are not secure; they get damaged; thieves can come" and take them away. Jesus, the pope said, was referring to three treasures, and "always came back to the same point."

"The first treasure is gold, money, wealth . . . . In fact, one is not safe with this type [of treasure], because it might be stolen, right? 'Investments are not safe' because 'the stock market might crash and one is then left with nothing!" [. . .] Tell me, will one more euro make you happier?"

For the pontiff, "wealth is a dangerous treasure". Of course, "wealth can be good. It can be useful for doing many good things, for raising a family. Indeed, yet if you accumulate it as a treasure, it steals your soul! Jesus, in the Gospel, addressed this topic," the issue of "wealth, the danger of wealth," the danger of "putting your hopes in wealth".

The second treasure "is vanity: the treasure of seeking prestige and showing off." Jesus "always condemned it." Let us not forget "what he told the scribes, when they fasted, when they gave alms, when they prayed in order to be seen." Vanity "is not needed, it ends." Saint Bernard said, "Your beauty will end up as food for worms."

The third treasure is "pride", i.e. "power." Citing the First Reading, the pope spoke of the fall of the cruel Queen Athaliah. "Her great power lasted seven years, and then she was killed. Power ends!"  [. . .] How many great, proud men and women of power have finished in anonymity, in poverty or in prison."

Such treasures "are not needed". The Lord asks us instead to accumulate the "treasures in heaven. [. . .] Here is the message of Jesus: If your treasure is in wealth, vanity, power, and pride, your heart will be chained there! Your heart will be slave to wealth, vanity, and pride! What Jesus wants us to have is a free heart! This is today's message. 'Please, have a free heart!' Jesus tells us. He speaks to us about the freedom of the heart. We can have a free heart only with the treasures of heaven: love, patience, service to others, worshipping God. This is the real wealth that cannot stolen. Other kinds of wealth weight down the heart, weigh down the heart. They chain it, and do not give it freedom. "

A "slave heart," he reiterated, "is not a bright heart: it will be dark." If we accumulate earthly treasures, "we accumulate darkness, which is not necessary." These treasures "do not give us joy, but above all they do not give us freedom."

Instead, "a free heart is a bright heart, which illuminates others, which shows the road that leads to God." It is a "bright heart, one that is not chained, a heart that goes forward, that also ages well, because it ages like fine wine. When fine wine ages it becomes fine aged wine. By contrast, the heart that is not bright is like bad wine. As time goes by, it sours and becomes vinegar. May the Lord give us spiritual prudence to understand well where my heart is, and to which treasure my heart is attached. May he also give us the strength to let it loose if it is chained so that it can  become free and brighter and give us the beautiful happiness of God's children, that of true freedom."

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