(Source: MJ/Robin Gomes, Vatican News)

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on the Saturday of the fifth week of Easter.

At the start of Mass his thoughts turned to those who are burying the dead during this pandemic. 

“Let us pray today for people who bury the dead during the pandemic. To bury the dead is one of the works of mercy and, obviously, it is not something pleasant. Let us also pray for them because they also risk their lives and can be infected”.

In his homily, the Pope commented on the day’s Gospel (Jn 15:18-21), where Jesus says to His disciples: “If the world hates you, realise that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you”.

Spirit of worldliness

The Pope said that Jesus often speaks about the world and about hatred against him and his disciples. He asks the Father not to remove the disciples from the world but to defend them from the spirit of the world. 

The Holy Father thus dwelt on this worldliness that is capable of hating and destroying Jesus, his disciples and even corrupting the Church.

Worldliness, the Pope explained, “is a proposal of life”. “It is a culture of the ephemeral, of appearance, of cosmetic make-up… of superficial values”. It is a culture that knows no fidelity because it changes according to circumstances. Like a chameleon, it negotiates everything. 

Throwaway culture of convenience

It is this worldliness that Jesus, in His prayer, asks the Father to defend us from.

“Worldliness”, he continued, “is a throwaway culture that goes according to convenience”. It is also a way of life for many who call themselves Christians but are worldly. The concerns of the world drown the faith. 

The Pope recalled the renowned 20th-century Jesuit theologian, Father Henri de Lubac, who described spiritual worldliness “as the worst of evils afflicting the Church, and he wasn’t exaggerating”.

Spiritual worldliness is a way of living Christianity that kills because it hates faith. Worldliness enters everywhere, even in the Church, thereby disfiguring it.

Pope Francis pointed to martyrs who are killed for hatred of the faith. He warned against regarding worldliness as something superficial, saying it has deep roots. 

Faith in Jesus, the answer to worldliness

Worldliness, the Pope continued, cannot tolerate the scandal of the cross, and the only medicine against worldliness is Christ who died and rose for us. Faith in Jesus is victory against the world. The foolishness of the cross and the victory of Christ is our victory too, the Pope said.

The world hates Jesus and he prays to the Father to defend us from the spirit of the world. However, faith does not mean being fanatic or not dialoguing with others. 

In conclusion, the Holy Father urged Christians to ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to be able to discern what worldliness is and what the Gospel is, so as not to be deceived.

More of the Pope’s Santa Marta homilies, on Novena:

15/5: In Santa Marta Mass, Pope criticises “religion of prescriptions”: “The spirit of rigidity robs us of freedom”

14/5: Santa Marta Mass: Francis prays for end to coronavirus, “terrible pandemics” of hunger, war, uneducated children

13/5: In Santa Marta Mass, Pope praises students, teachers for finding “new ways to educate” during COVID-19

12/5: Santa Marta Mass: On International Nurses Day, Francis gives thanks for “heroism” of those who have “vocation” of nursing

11/5: Santa Marta Mass: Pope laments reality of COVID-19 jobless, “illegally” employed

10/5: Pope prays in Santa Marta Mass that Europe might grow in “fraternal unity of diversity”

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