In his daily homily, Pope Francis cautioned the faithful not to fall into the temptation of worldliness which hardens our hearts and makes us forget our “election” as children of God.
“The normality of life demands fidelity from Christians to their election, and to not sell it to go towards a worldly uniformity,” the Pope stated in his Jan. 17 homily.
Pope Francis began his daily Mass, held in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, by returning to the day’s readings, giving special emphasis to the first reading taken from First Book of Samuel.
Recalling how the people of Israel asked Samuel to appoint a king so that they would be like other nations, and did not listen to the prophet’s warning against it, the Pope stated that the people “reject God,” and that “not only do they hear the word of God, but they reject it.”
In denying the Lord as their ruler and requesting a “king of the court” so as to be “like all the nations,” the pontiff explained that they “reject to Lord of love” and “they reject their election and seek a path of worldliness.”
Many Christians today do the same thing, the Pope noted, observing that the temptation of worldliness “is the temptation of the People, and also ours.”
“So many times, we forget the word of God, what the Lord tells us, and we take the word which is fashionable, right?” he continued, adding that “the word of the soap opera” is always “fashionable and more fun!”
However, the Pope went on to explain that “apostasy is precisely the sin of breaking with the Lord,” and “is clearly seen,” but that worldliness is “more dangerous…because it is more subtle.”
Pope Francis acknowledged that while “the Christian must be normal, as normal people are,” there are certain values that “the Christian cannot take for himself.”
A true Christian, he noted, “must assume upon himself the Word of God which says ‘You are my son, you are elected, I am with you, I walk with you,’” and must resist the temptation of feeling like victims of “a certain inferiority complex.”
“Temptation comes and hardens the heart, and when the heart is hard, when the heart is not open, the Word of God cannot enter,” he reflected, repeating the words of Jesus to the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “Oh foolish men, and slow of heart!”
“They had a hardened heart, they could not understand the Word of God,” the pontiff observed, explaining that worldliness “softens the heart, but in a bad way: a soft heart is never a good thing!”
“What is good is a heart that is open to the Word of God, that receives it. Like the Virgin Mary, who pondered all these things in her heart…receiving the Word of God so as not to turn away from election.”
Concluding his homily, the Pope urged those present to ask for the grace to “overcome our selfishness: the selfishness of wanting do to my own will.”
“We ask for the grace to overcome it and ask for the grace of spiritual docility,” he stated, “that is, to open the heart to the Word of God and not to do as these brothers of ours, that have closed their hearts because they had gone far from God and for a long time had not heard the Word of God.”
“May the Lord give us the grace of an open heart to receive the Word of God and to ponder it always; and from there take the true path.”