Pope Francis on Friday had a question for priests: “Are you attached to money?”
“The house of our Lord God is a house of prayer. Our encounter with the Lord (is) with the God of love,” he said in his Nov. 18 homily. “The Lord of Money is constantly seeking to enter inside.”
Pope Francis spoke at his Friday morning Mass at Casa Santa Martha’s chapel, largely attended by priests.
His reflection focused on the day’s gospel reading about Christ driving money lenders from the Jewish temple.
The moneychangers were renting their spaces from the priests, said the Pope in a strong warning about the “Lord of Money.”
“This is the lord that can ruin our life and can lead us to end our life in a bad way, without happiness, without the joy of serving the true Lord, who is the only one capable of giving us that true joy.”
The Pope particularly focused on the dangers of the love of money in the priesthood. He said the people of God forgive “so many sins” by priests, except for attachment to money and mistreating people.
“Following the Lord of Money leads a priest to be the head of a firm or be a prince or we can go even higher,” he warned the priests gathered for Mass. “It’s sad to see a priest who’s at the end of his life, he’s in agony, he’s in a coma and his relatives are there like vultures, looking to see what they can take away.”
He recounted the story of Jacob’s wife Rachel who kept hidden her idols, called teraphim. For Pope Francis, this is an image of attachment to material goods.
“Let us grant this pleasure to the Lord, a true examination of our conscience: ‘Lord, are you my Lord or is it, like Rachel, these teraphim hidden in my heart, this idol of money?’”
Pope Francis had some recommendations: “be courageous,” he repeated, “be courageous.”
“Make a choice: sufficient money like that of an honest worker, sufficient savings like those of an honest worker,” he said. “But all these financial interests are not permissible; this is idolatry.”
He closed praying that God “grant us all the grace of Christian poverty.”
“May the Lord give us the grace of the poverty of working people, those who work and earn a fair wage and who do not seek any more.”