In his homily at Santa Marta, the pope reflected on the differences between the devil's temptation to Adam and Eve, and the temptation to Jesus. He recalled that the devil always deceives, and to not fall into temptation, and to never talk to him.
"Corruption begins in small things like this, with dialogue: ‘No, it’s not true that this fruit will harm you. Eat it, it’s good! It’s a little thing, no one will notice. Do it! Do it!’ And little by little, little by little, you fall into sin, you fall into corruption”.
The pope says that the Church teaches one to not be naive or foolish, because that is what the devil likes. It always starts by giving into small things. Therefore, the best strategy is to never dialogue with temptation.
HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS IN ENGLISH
Temptations lead us to hide ourselves from the Lord, so that we remain with our "fault,” our "sin,” our "corruption.”
(Beginning with the first Reading, from the Book of Genesis, Pope Francis focused on the temptation of Adam and Eve, and then considered that of Jesus in the desert.)
The devil appears in the form of a serpent: he is "attractive,” and with his cunning he seeks "to deceive.” In this he is a specialist, he is "the father of lies,” "a liar.” So he knows how to deceive and how to "cheat” people. This is what he did with Eve: he made her "feel good,” the Pope explained, and so he began to dialogue with her; and, step by step, Satan led her where he wanted.
With Jesus it is different; it ended badly for the devil, the Pope said. "He tries to dialogue” with Christ, because when the devil deceives a person he does so with dialogue.” He attempts to deceive Him, but Jesus does not give in. Then the devil is revealed for who he is. Jesus answers him, not with His own words, but with the Word of God, because "you can’t dialogue with the devil”; you’ll end up, like Adam and Eve, "naked”.
"The devil is a bad paymaster, he doesn’t pay well. He is a cheat! He promises you everything and leaves you naked. Jesus, too, ended up naked, but on the Cross, through obedience to the Father: this is a different path. The serpent, the devil is cunning: you can’t dialogue with the devil. We all know what temptations are, we all know, because we all have them. So many temptations! Of vanity, pride, greed, avarice… so many!”
Corruption begins in small things.
Today, the Pope said, there is a lot of talk of corruption; and for this, too, we should ask for the Lord’s help. "There are so many corrupt people, corrupt ‘big fish’ in the world, whose lives we read about in the papers. Perhaps they began with a small thing, I don’t know, maybe not adjusting the scales well. What was a kilo… no, let’s make it 900 grams, but that will seem like a kilo. Corruption begins in small things like this, with dialogue: ‘No, it’s not true that this fruit will harm you. Eat it, it’s good! It’s a little thing, no one will notice. Do it! Do it!’ And little by little, little by little, you fall into sin, you fall into corruption.”
In temptation, you don’t dialogue, you pray.
The Church teaches us in this way, the Pope said, so we will not be deceived – not to say foolish – so that when we are tempted we have our "eyes open” and know to ask the Lord for help, "because we can’t do it on our own.” Adam and Eve hid themselves from the Lord; on the contrary, it takes the grace of Jesus in order to "turn and seek forgiveness”.
"In temptation, you don’t dialogue, you pray. ‘Help me, Lord, I am weak. I don’t want to hide from you.’ This is courage, this is winning. When you start to dialogue, you end up overcome, defeated. May the Lord give us that grace, and accompany us in this courage. And if we are deceived because of our weakness in temptation, may He grant us the courage to get up and go forward. It’s for this that Jesus came, for this.”