The only cure for worldliness is faith in Jesus Christ and in his death and resurrection, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass Saturday.
“There is one thing that does not tolerate worldliness: the scandal of the cross. It does not tolerate it,” the pope said May 16. “And the only medicine against the spirit of worldliness is Christ who died and rose for us, scandal and foolishness.”
At Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta, his Vatican residence, Pope Francis urged Catholics in the last two weeks of Easter to “ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to discern what worldliness is and what the Gospel is and not to be deceived.”
In his homily, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St. John, when Jesus told his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize 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.”
Some people think worldliness just means partying, Francis said. “Worldliness may be this, but it is not fundamentally this,” he said.
“Worldliness is a culture,” according to the pope. The world “has superficial values” and “no fidelity because it changes according to the circumstances.”
He warned that Christians, too, are not immune to this spirit of the world, and quoted from the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians: “You were slaves to the world, to worldliness.”
This, he said, makes him recall the end of the book, Meditation on the Church, by Henri de Lubac, which calls spiritual worldliness “the worst of the evils that can happen to the Church,” Francis stated.
“And Jesus insists on defending us from this and prays for the Father to defend us from this culture of worldliness,” he said.
The pope pointed to the apostle Paul’s preaching of the Gospel in Athens. When St. Paul spoke about the cross and resurrection, some of the people “were scandalized and went away,” according to Francis.
The apostle John, he said, also spoke about worldliness when he wrote that “the victory that conquers the world is our faith.”
“The only one: faith in Jesus Christ, dead and risen.” The pope said “that doesn’t mean being fanatics. This does not mean neglecting to have dialogue with all people, no: but with the conviction of faith, the scandal of the cross, the foolishness of Christ and also the victory of Christ.”
Pope Francis’ intention for the Mass was for those burying the dead during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is one of the works of mercy to bury the dead and it is not a pleasant thing of course. We pray for those who risk their lives and catching the infection,” he said.
After Mass, the pope concluded with Eucharistic adoration and benediction. He also led congregants and those following the Mass via livestream in making a spiritual communion.