Drawing inspiration from a reading in the Book of the Maccabees, Pope Francis warned the faithful to be attentive in our secularized and pleasure-seeking life-style which often attacks the Church and imposes unjust rules on Christians.
Referring to the first Reading of the day, the Pope spoke of the passage which portrays the effort by the Jews to regain their cultural and religious identity after Antiochus IV Epiphanes suppressed the observance of Jewish laws and desecrated the temple after having convinced the people of God to abandon their traditions.
Lord, the Pope prayed, give me the discernment to recognize the subtle conspiracies of worldliness that lead us to negotiate our values and our faith.
During his homily, Pope Francis warned the faithful against what he described as a “globalized uniformity” which is the result of secular worldliness.
Often he said, the people of God prefer to distance themselves from the Lord in favour of worldly proposals. He said worldliness is the root of evil and it can lead us to abandon our traditions and negotiate our loyalty to God who is always faithful. This – the Pope admonished – is called apostasy, which he said is a form of “adultery” which takes place when we negotiate the essence of our being: loyalty to the Lord.
And he spoke of the contradiction that is inherent in the fact that we are not ready to negotiate values, but we negotiate loyalty. This attitude – he said – “is a fruit of the devil who makes his way forward with the spirit of secular worldliness”.
And referring again to the passage in the Book of Maccabees, in which all nations conformed to the king’s decree and adopted customs foreign to their culture, the Pope pointed out that this “is not the beautiful globalization, unity of all nations, each with their own customs but united, but the uniformity of hegemonic globalization, it is – he said - the single thought: the result of secular worldliness”
And Pope Francis warned that this happens today. Moved by the spirit of worldliness, people negotiate their fidelity to the Lord, they negotiate their identity, and they negotiate their belonging to a people that God loves.
And with a reference to the 20th century novel “Lord of the World” that focuses on the spirit of worldliness that leads to apostasy, Pope Francis warned against the desire to “be like everyone else” and what he called an “adolescent progressivism”. “What do you think?” – he said bitterly – “that today human sacrifices are not made? Many, many people make human sacrifices and there are laws that protect them”.
What consoles us – he concluded – is that the Lord never denies himself to the faithful. “He waits for us, He loves us, He forgives us. Let us pray that His faithfulness may save us from the worldly spirit that negotiates all. Let us pray that he may protect us and allow us to go forward, leading us by the hand, just like a father with his child. Holding the Lord’s hand we will be safe”.