.- On Sunday morning, Pope Benedict XVI paid a visit to Velletri, Italy where he presided over Mass and gave a homily on the Gospel of the dishonest steward. The Pope told his listeners that, fundamentally, life is always a choice between good and evil, between God and Satan.
"In truth," he told the several thousand faithful who had gathered to hear him, "life is always a choice: between faithfulness and unfaithfulness, between selfishness and altruism, between good and evil. The end of this particular Gospel passage is incisive and authoritative: no servant can serve two masters," which in the final analysis means "you cannot serve God and wealth."
The Holy Father drew a further conclusion from the Gospel by connecting the use or misuse of material goods to its effects on the environment and our fellow men.
"A fundamental decision is then necessary, the choice between the logic of profit as the ultimate criteria for our actions and the logic of sharing and solidarity. If the logic of profit prevails, the imbalance between poor and rich increases, as does the ruinous exploitation of the planet.” “When, on the other hand, the logic of sharing and solidarity prevails it is possible to alter and redirect our course towards equal development and the common good of everyone. Ultimately it is a decision between selfishness and love, between justice and dishonesty, ... between God and Satan.”
Pope Benedict pointed out how this attitude of serving Christ and our fellow man in our material choices is counter cultural and can call us to be radically sacrificial. "If loving Christ and our fellow man is not considered as a superficial accessory," he added, "but rather as the real and ultimate aim of our entire life, we must know how to take fundamental decisions, to be ready to make radical sacrifices, if necessary even unto martyrdom. Today, as yesterday, the life of Christians calls for the courage to swim against the tide, to love like Jesus Who went so far as to sacrifice Himself upon the cross."
After the Mass, the Pope blessed a bronze column given to him a year ago as a gift by 100 Bavarian cities to mark his apostolic trip to Germany and his 80th birthday. Two columns were made, one is in the Pope's home town of Marktl am Inn, the other has been donated by him to the diocese of Velletri-Segni.