During his daily morning Mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis talked about all the social pressures that want to keep faith private. Reflecting on the Gospel readings, the Pope said the battle between the 'prince of the world' and God, is a prophetic sign that reflects the trials before the final coming of Jesus.
"Suddenly speaking of religion becomes something private. Something you can't talk about publicly. Instead you have to follow the orders of worldly powers. So many wonderful things can be carried out, but not worshiping God. That is forbidden! This is the focus of the 'end of times.'"
Reflecting on the pagan attitudes he referenced, the Pope then challenged Christians to ask themselves, whether they play into the worldly prince, or instead worship God.
SUMMARY OF POPE'S HOMILY
Source: Vatican Radio
"In the final battle between God and evil that we read in the liturgy in these days, there’s a trap which Pope Francis calls "universal temptation.” It’s the temptation to give in to the deceitful ways of those against God. But those with true faith can look to Jesus for the strength to withstand the insidiousness of evil. Jesus, who endured insults and lies in his public life and the trials of evil in the desert, bore them to his death on the Cross. But, as Prince of Peace, Jesus triumphed over the prince of the world through the Resurrection.
In his homily, Pope Francis pointed to these events in Christ’s life because, he said, as we hear the Gospel recount the tumultuous time of the end of the world, we become aware that the victory of the prince of the world over God would be more disasterous than a devastating natural disaster.
"When Jesus speaks of this calamity in another passage, he tells us that it will be a profanation of the temple, a profanation of the faith, of the people: it will be an abomination; it will be desolation and abomination. What does this mean? It will be like the victory of the prince of this world: the defeat of God.”
Today, the Pope observed, people are discouraged from speaking of religion in public. "It’s (considered) something private, no?” It’s something you don’t talk about in public, he said, pointing to the fact that religious objects have become tabu’. "One has to obey the orders that come from worldly powers. One can do many things, nice things, but not adore God.
It’s forbidden to worship. This is at the heart of the "end of times.” It is when this pagan attitude reaches its height, that’s when the end times will come, the Pope stressed. This is when the Son of man will return in glory.
"Christians who suffer times of persecution, times forbidding worship,” are a prophetic sign, the Pope said, of "what will happen to everyone.”
"This week it will do us good to think about this general apostasy which is called a ban on worship and ask ourselves: ‘Do I worship the Lord? Do I adore Jesus Christ the Lord? Do I in some measure play the game of the prince of this world?’ Worship to the end with trust and fidelity,” the Pope said, "this is the grace that we must ask for this week.”