The charm of temporal goods, the sensation of being masters of
time, and the culture of comfort at any cost: these things too often keep people
from Jesus. “They seem to be two kinds of wealth”, but in reality they just keep
us from “moving forward”, Pope Francis said on Monday morning, 27 May, at Mass
in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
The Pope commented on the Gospel passage of the day (Mk
10:17-27); the Evangelist writes of the rich young man who asks Jesus how to
inherit eternal life. “He was a good man who went to find Jesus and threw
himself on his knees before him, a man who had piety in his heart, a religious
man and a just man, who goes to Jesus because he feels something inside. He
feels the urge to go beyond, to follow Jesus more closely. It was precisely the
Holy Spirit that drove him”. But when Jesus tells the man that “whoever loves
him” must sell all his possessions before following him, “this good and just
man, this man inspired by the Holy Spirit to grow closer to Jesus, became
discouraged at these words and went away downcast. And Jesus turned and said to
his disciples: how hard it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God”, the
Holy Father said.
“Each and every one of us”, the Pope continued, “needs to
examine our conscience and find out what riches keep us from approaching Jesus
on the road of life”. They are the riches that come from our culture. The first
is “well-being” or comfort or luxury he said. “The culture of well-being that
gives us little courage, makes us lazy and selfish”. We think comfort is enough.
He referred to a possible dialogue between spouses: “No, no, no more than one
child, no! Because then we can't go on vacation, we can't go here, we can't buy
a house; no! It is all fine and good to follow Jesus but only to a certain
“We are in love,” he said, “with temporal things”, while what
Jesus offers is infinite. We like the temporary “because we are afraid of God's
time”, the end of time.
Wellness and transience are precisely the two riches of
contemporary society that “prevent us from going forward”. On the other hand,
the Pope's thought turned to the example of the “many men and women who had left
their homelands as missionaries for their whole lives”, and to the “man men and
women who have left their homes to get married and for their whole lives are
working towards the infinite”. “This”, the Holy Father said, “to follow Jesus
closely, is the definitive”.
His closing words were to “ask the Lord to give us the courage
to move forward, emptying ourselves of this culture of well-being, through
Concelebrating with Pope Francis among others were Cardinal
Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, and Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski,
President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. Among those
present were employees of the Department of the Ministry of Health, officers of
the Directorate of Economic Services of the Governorate and a group of
volunteers from a pediatric clinic in Santa Marta Vatican.