Money, he said, "can come to dominate us, even to the point of becoming a tyrannical idol. Instead of being an instrument at our service for doing good and showing solidarity toward others, money can chain us and the entire world to a selfish logic that leaves no room for love and hinders peace."
However, while the rich man in the parable becomes vain out of greed, his appearances only mask "an internal emptiness," making him a prisoner of his sin.
For those corrupted by love of money, "nothing exists beyond their own ego. Those around them do not come into their line of sight," the Pope said, explaining that the result of this attachment "is a sort of blindness. The rich man does not see the poor man who is starving, hurting, lying at his door."
Reflecting on this passage is "a good preparation" for Easter, Pope Francis said, explaining that Ash Wednesday's liturgy is similar to what is described in the passage, particularly with the administration of the ashes, which serves as a symbol of the end of our earthly lives.
In the passage, both the rich man and Lazarus died, realizing that "we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it."
The parable also offers a message for all Christians, he said, noting how the rich man wants to warn his brothers about what he is suffering. However, Abraham rejects the request, telling him that if his brothers didn't listen to Moses or the prophets, then they won't listen "even if someone should rise from the dead."
He said the rich man's real problem, then, is that he failed to heed God's word, and because of this lost his love for God and began to despise his neighbor.
"The word of God is alive and powerful, capable of converting hearts and leading them back to God," he said, adding that "when we close our heart to the gift of God's word, we end up closing our heart to the gift of our brothers and sisters."
Lent, he said, "is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor."
"May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God's word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need," he said.
Pope Francis closed his message encouraging the faithful to pray for one another "so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full the joy of Easter."
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