VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The attachment to money leads to broken families and causes wars, Pope Francis said at his early morning Mass.
The pope said that although Jesus is not against wealth in itself, he does warn of the idolatry that is created when one becomes attached to riches, thus leading to division.
In his homily at Mass Oct. 19 in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading (Lk 12:13-21), which recounted Jesus’ answer regarding an inheritance dispute between two brothers.
“Let us think of how many families we know who fight, who do not greet each other, who hate each other because of an inheritance,” the pope said.
“And this is one of those cases. The love of a family, the love of children, of brothers and sisters, of parents is not the most important; no, it is money. And this destroys.”
Pope Francis also noted that this attachment to wealth is behind the conflicts afflicting the world today, particularly from arms trafficking and those who profit from war. Greed, he said, gives a false sense of security that “always ends badly.”
Recalling Jesus’ parable of the rich man who decides to use his wealth to become richer, the pope explained that “the thirst of the attachment to riches” is never ending.
“If you have a heart attached to wealth — when you have so much — you want more. And this is the god of the person who is attached to riches.”
The pope said that the first step in the path of salvation is “poverty of the spirit” in which the person who is no longer attached to wealth becomes generous and serves others.
“The sign that we are not in this sin of idolatry is to give alms to those who are in need,” the pope said.
“That means that the love of God is greater than the attachment to riches.”
The pope said that there are three questions that people must ask themselves when it comes to almsgiving.
“First question: ‘Should I give?’ Second: ‘How much do I give?’ Third question: ‘How will I give it? Should I give as Jesus did, with a loving caress or like someone paying a tax? How will I give it?'”
“Let us ask the Lord for the grace of being free from this idolatry, the attachment to riches; the grace of looking at him, so rich in his love and so rich in his generosity, in his mercy; and for the grace of helping others through the practice of almsgiving” the same way he does it with love, the pope said.