Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Pope: hope in God, who never disappoints, and not in idols like power and wealth

Hope is "a basic human need," but it must be placed in God and not in mundane "idols", such as wealth or power, or in a "god" that is manmade , "the image of God, is made in his own image", and is also "a failed image: It cannot hear, does not act, and especially cannot speak."
Hope in God, "who is not an idol, never disappoints", was the subject of which the Pope spoke to the seven thousand people present at the Vatican for the general audience. A hope that permeates the liturgical season of Advent and which Christmas wakens in God's people.
"But - he added - it is important that this hope is placed in what really can help us to live and to give meaning to our existence. This is why the Scripture warns against false hopes: These false hopes that the world presents to us, exposing their uselessness and showing the senselessness. And it does so in many ways, but especially denouncing the falsehood of idols in which man is continually trying to put his trust, making it the object of his hope. "

"In particular, the prophets and sages insist on this, touching a nerve center of the believer's faith journey. Because faith is trusting God - those who have faith, trust in God - but there is the moment when, clashing with the difficulties of life, man experiences the fragility of that trust and feels the for various certainties, tangible, concrete securities. I trust in God, but the situation is a little ugly and I need a certainty, something a little' more concrete. And there is the danger! And then we are tempted to look for ephemeral consolations, that seem to fill the void of loneliness and soothe our faith fatigue. And we think we are able to find the security in - for example - money, or in alliances with the powerful, or securities in worldliness, or false ideologies. Sometimes we look for a god that can bend to our requests and magically take action to change reality and to make it as we want; an idol, indeed, that in itself can do nothing, impotent and deceptive. But we like idols, we love them! Once, in Buenos Aires, I had to go from one church to another, a thousand meters, more or less. And I did, walking. And there is a park in the middle, and in the park there were little tables, but many, eh ?, many, where the seers were seated. And you ... but it was full of people, too, who were queuing, eh ?, there were so many; and you, you gave him your hand and he began ... But the words were always the same: there is a woman in your life, there is a shadow, but all turn out well ... And then, you paid. And that gives you security? It is the safety of  - allow me say this - of nonsense. But, this is an idol: I went to the seer, the visionary, or I had my cards read - I know that none of you do these things, huh? [Laughs] - and manage better. It makes me think of the movie, 'Miracle in Milan', of that ... 'that face, that nose ... 100 lire'. Huh? 

They makes you pay because they praise you and give you a false hope. This is the idol, and we are so attracted: to buy false hope. And [of] what is the hope of gratuity, [of] the one who brought us Jesus Christ, free of charge, who gave his life for us, which we do not trust so much .... A very wise Psalm depicts the falsity of these idols that the world offers to our hope and to which men of all ages are tempted to rely in a very suggestive way. It is Psalm 115, which reads: "Their idols are silver and gold, / the work of human hands. / They have mouths but do not speak, / have eyes and see not, / They have ears but can not hear, / they have noses and smell not. / Their hands do not palpate, / their feet do not walk; / Do not come from their throat sounds! / Those who make them become like them / and who trust in them! "(Vv. 4-8). The psalmist gives us, even using a little irony, the absolutely ephemeral reality of these idols. And we must understand that this is not just made of metal or other material representations, but also  those made with our mind, when we believe that we can transform reality limited in absolute, or when we reduce God to our schemes and our ideas of deities; a god that looks like us, understandable, predictable, just like the idols mentioned in Psalm. Man, the image of God, is a god in his own image, and it is also a failed image: it does not hear, it does not act, and especially cannot speak. But, we are more than happy to go to these idols instead of the Lord. We are often happier with the ephemeral hope that this is false gives you, this idol, the great sure hope that the Lord gives us... ".

"In the hope of a Lord of life who, through His Word created the world and leads our lives, it contrasts with our trust in dumb idols. Ideologies with their absolute claim, wealth - and this is a great idol, eh? - power and success, vanity, with their illusion of eternity and omnipotence, values ​​such as physical beauty and health, they become idols to whom we sacrifice everything, they are all realities that confuse the mind and the heart, and instead of supporting life lead to death. It’s terrible, it hurts the soul what I heard one time years ago in the diocese of Buenos Aires: a woman, a good woman, very, very beautiful and who bragged about her beauty, commented as if it were natural: ‘Yeah, I had to have an abortion because my figure is so important... These are the idols, and they lead you down the wrong path, and do not give you happiness. The Psalm of the message is very clear: if you lay hope in idols, you become like them: hollow images with hands that do not touch, feet that do not walk, mouths that cannot speak. You no longer have anything to say, you become unable to help, to change things, unable to smile, give of yourself, incapable of love. And we, men of the Church, we run that risk when we become ‘worldly’. We have to stay in the world but defend ourselves from illusions of the world.”

The Lord always remembers, even in bad times; but he remembers us. And this is our hope. And hope does not disappoint. Never. Never. Idols always disappoint, they are fantasies not reality".

“That's the wonderful reality of hope, trusting in the Lord, you become like Him, His blessing transforms us, transforms us into His children, who share her life. Hope in God makes us enter, so to speak, within range of His memory, His memory that blesses us and saves us. And then our hallelujah can gush forth, praise the living and true God, who is born for us of Mary, who died on the cross and rose again in glory. And in this God we have hope, and this God - who is not an idol - never disappoints".

At the end of the audience, Pope Francis, also denounced “sly hawkers" that charge tickets for papal audiences, which are all, always free of charge. "To get to the audience  - he said - there are tickets. In these tickets in six languages ​​it is written: The ticket is free ... you should not pay ... But I learned that there are sly people who charge for these tickets. Doing this is a scam. People come here without paying because it is everyone’s home".

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