In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said the shepherd that seeks power and riches, instead of following Jesus and properly tending to their flock, will end up being loved only for their money.
"When a pastor during his life was attached to other things, rather than to the faithful - for example he was attached to power, money, being part of a clique, to many things - then at his death he won’t be alone, maybe his family will be there waiting for him to die so they can see what possessions they can take away with them.”
The pope concluded his homily by praying for elderly priests. He praised them for their strength and being able to stay close to God despite their suffering.
EXCERPTS FROM THE POPE'S HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)
"Alone, begging, abandoned by all and the victim of fury. But this is the great Paul, the man who heard the voice of the Lord, the call of the Lord! The man who went from one place to another, who suffered so many things and so many trials for preaching the Gospel, who made the Apostles understand that the Lord wants Gentiles to enter into the Church as well, the great Paul who when praying rose to the Seventh Heaven and heard things that nobody else had heard before: the Great Paul, there, in that small room of a house in Rome, waiting to see how that struggle would end within the Church between the different sides, between the rigidity of the Judaizers and those disciples faithful to him. And this is how the life of the great Paul ends, in desolation: not in resentment or bitterness but with an inner desolation.”
"To die in this way like martyrs, as witnesses of Jesus, is the grain that dies and gives rise to new seeds and fills the earth with new Christians. When a pastor lives like this he is not embittered: maybe he feels desolate but he has that certainty that the Lord is beside him. When a pastor during his life was attached to other things, rather than to the faithful - for example he was attached to power, money, being part of a clique, to many things - then at his death he won’t be alone, maybe his family will be there waiting for him to die so they can see what possessions they can take away with them.”
"When I go to visit the retirement homes for elderly priests I find so many of these great shepherds who have given their lives for the faithful. There they are, sick, paralyzed, in wheelchairs but you can see them smiling straight away. ‘He’s well, Lord; he’s well, Lord,’ because they feel the Lord very close to them. They have these shining eyes and they are asking: ‘how is the Church? How is the diocese faring? How are vocations going?’ (It’s this way) right to the end because they are fathers, because they gave their lives for others. Turning back to Paul: alone, begging, the victim of fury, deserted by everybody except the Lord Jesus: ‘Only the Lord stayed close to me!’ And the Good Shepherd, the shepherd must have this certainty: if he journeys along the path of Jesus, the Lord will be close to him right to the end. Let us pray for the shepherds who are at the end of their lives and who are waiting for the Lord to take them with Him. And let us pray so that the Lord may give them strength, consolation and the certainty that, although they feel sick and alone, the Lord is with them, close to them. May the Lord give them this strength.”