The Pope went on to explain how the illusion can link back to the "idolatry of money," leading to a lack of concern for the poor "on the part of wealthier individuals and societies."
"They close their doors, refusing even to see the poor," he said.
"For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God's word and by practising the works of mercy."
Pope Francis stressed that "the corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated."
"By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need," he said.
"This love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness and love that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches."
The Pope warned against constantly refusing "to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them in the poor," as such consistent refusal on the part on the part of the "proud, rich and powerful" leads to condemnation.
This year's Lent will begin Feb 10 with Ash Wednesday, when the Church will send out "Missionaries of Mercy" – priests with the faculties to pardon sins in cases otherwise reserved for the Holy See – as part of the Jubilee Year.
In the opening section of the message, Pope Francis centered his reflection on Mary as the image of the Church's evangelization, "because she is evangelized."
The Pope began by reiterating the call for mercy to be celebrated and experienced in a particular way this Lent, citing the Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
"The mercy of God is a proclamation made to the world, a proclamation which each Christian is called to experience at first hand," he said.
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After receiving the "Good News" from the angel Gabriel, Mary proclaims the Magnificat in which she "prophetically sings of the mercy whereby God chose her," the Pope recounts.
He describes Mary as the "perfect icon of the Church which evangelizes, for she was, and continues to be, evangelized by the Holy Spirit, who made her virginal womb fruitful."
Pope Francis then reflected on the history of mercy as seen in the covenant between God and the people of Israel.
"God shows himself ever rich in mercy, ever ready to treat his people with deep tenderness and compassion, especially at those tragic moments when infidelity ruptures the bond of the covenant, which then needs to be ratified more firmly in justice and truth," he said.
"Here is a true love story, in which God plays the role of the betrayed father and husband, while Israel plays the unfaithful child and bride."
"This love story culminates in the incarnation of God's Son," who the Father has made "mercy incarnate," the Pope said, citing the Jubilee Bull of Induction.