Power becomes oppressive when one forgets that their mission is to serve. This was the firm message that Pope Francis has transmitted at the general audience.
He recalled a passage from the Bible, the story of Naboth's vineyard, where the king of Israel abused his power in order to take possession of the vineyard. The Pope said that this story, which occurred more than 2,000 years ago, is still very current.
"This is not a story of the past. It is also a story today. Of the powerful who have more money to exploit the poor, they exploit people. It is the story of human trafficking, slave labor, poor people working in black and with the least to enrich the powerful. It is the story of powerful politicians who want more, more, more.”
The Pope recalled a passage from the prophet Isaiah and said that it can still be applied, even today.
"There are some of you that pile houses upon houses and united fields with fields until there is no more room and so you stay alone in your country. And the prophet Isaiah was not a Communist. But God is greater than evil and dirty tricks played by human beings.”
Pope Francis ended the general audience by explaining how God acted in the face of such injustice; far from condemning what the king, he was trying to convert him. This, he said, is the way God acts.
"The king, before his sin, understands, is humble and ask for forgiveness. How nice would
that powerful exploiters would do the same today.”
The Pope recalled that God, the merciful, forgave his sin but also reminded that evil committed had inevitable consequences. The evil committed he said, leaves its mark on the painful history of mankind.