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Pope in Santa Marta: Vanity and pride steer Christians away from Jesus

2015-05-26

In his Tuesday morning Mass Pope Francis talked about fully embracing Christianity. It's ugly he said, to see a so called half Christian. 

POPE FRANCIS
"It's sad to see a Christian, whether it’s a lay person, consecrated priest, bishop -  it’s sad when you see that person wanting two things: to follow Jesus and worldly things, to follow Jesus and worldliness. This is a counter-witness and it furthers people from Jesus.”

He also added that obsession with wealth, vanity and pride steer Christians away from Jesus. He then concluded that one cannot have both heaven and earth.

SUMMARY OF POPE'S HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio) 

"The Pope notes that Jesus responds in an unexpected way:  He does not speak of riches to his disciples,  but promises instead the Kingdom of Heaven "but with persecution, with the cross:"
So when a Christian is attached to [worldly] things, he gives the bad impression of a Christian who wants to have two things: [both] heaven and earth. And the touchstone of comparison precisely, is what Jesus says: the cross, the persecutions. This is to deny oneself, to suffer the cross every day... The disciples had this temptation, to follow Jesus but then:  how will this bargain end up?” 
 
The Pope then refers to the reading from Mathew where James and John’s mother asks Jesus to secure a place at His side for her children: "’Ah, make this one prime minister for me - this one, the minister of the economy ...', and she took the worldly interest in following Jesus," the Pope says with irony.

But, Francis notes, "the heart of these disciples was cleansed," through to Pentecost, when "they understood everything." "The gratuitousness  of following Jesus,” the Pope says, is the answer to the gratuitousness of love and salvation that Jesus gives us." And when "one wants to go and be with both Jesus and with the world, with both poverty and with riches,” he warns, "this is half-way Christianity that desires material gain. It is the spirit of worldliness.

Echoing the words of the prophet Elijah, Pope Francis alludes to this kind of Christian as one "limping on two legs" because he "does not know what he wants." So, the Pope affirms, in order to understand this,  we must remember that Jesus says "the first shall be last and the last shall be first," meaning "the one who believes or who is the greatest" must be "the servant, the smallest one.”