Pope Francis Jesus prayed that the Father would defend us from the spirit of the world 16.05.20

Pope Francis: Jesus prayed that the Father would defend us from the spirit of the world 16.05.20

Pope Francis 16.05.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae) Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter John 15: 18-21

Worldliness is a culture; it is a culture of the ephemeral, a culture of appearance, of make up, a culture "of today yes tomorrow no, tomorrow yes and today no". It has superficial values. A culture that knows no fidelity, because it changes according to circumstances, everything is negotiable. This is the worldly culture, the culture of worldliness. And Jesus insists on defending us from this and prays that the Father will defend us from this culture of worldliness. It's a throw-away culture, according to what's convenient. It's a culture without fidelity, it has no roots. But it is a way of life, a way of life also of many who say they are Christians. They are Christians but they are worldly.

Jesus, in the parable of the seed that falls into the earth, says that the preoccupations of the world, that is worldliness, stifle the Word of God, does not allow it to grow (Luke 8: 7). And Paul to the Galatians says: "You were slaves of the world, to worldliness" (Gal 4: 3). It always strikes me when I read the last pages of the book of the father de Lubac: "The meditations on the Church" (cf Henri de Lubac, Meditations on the Church, Milan 1955), the last three pages, where he speaks precisely of spiritual worldliness. And he says it is the worst of evils that can happen to the Church; and he does not exaggerate, because then he tells about some evils that are terrible, and this is the worst: spiritual worldliness, because it is a hermeneutic of life, is a way of life; even a way of living Christianity. And to survive the preaching of the Gospel, it hates, it kills.

When we speak about the martyrs who are killed out of hatred of the faith, yes it is true, for some, hatred was for a theological problem; but they weren't the majority. In most cases it is worldliness that hates faith and kills them, as they did with Jesus.

It is curious: worldliness, some might say to me: "But father, this is a superficiality of life". Let's not deceive ourselves! Worldliness is not superficial at all! It has deep roots, deep roots. It is chameleon-like, it changes, it comes and goes depending on the circumstances, but the substance is the same: a proposal of life that enters everywhere, even in the Church. Worldliness, worldly hermeneutics, make-up, everything can be made up to appear like this.

The Apostle Paul came to Athens, and was impressed when he saw in the areopagus so many monuments to the gods. And he thought of talking about this: "You are a religious people, I see this. The altar to the 'unknown god' has attracted my attention. I know him and I come to tell you who he is." And he began to preach the Gospel. But when he arrived at the cross and the resurrection they were shocked and left (Acts 17: 22-33). There is one thing that worldliness does not tolerate: the scandal of the Cross. It will not tolerate it. And the only medicine against the spirit of worldliness is Christ who died and rose for us, scandal and foolishness (1Cor 1: 23).

That is why when the Apostle John in his first letter deals with the theme of the world, he says: "The victory that conquers the world is our faith"(1 John 5: 4). The only one: faith in Jesus Christ, who died and rose. And that doesn't mean being fanatical. This does not mean neglecting to have dialogue with all people, no, but it's about the conviction of faith, starting from the scandal of the Cross, the foolishness of Christ and also the victory of Christ. "This is our victory," says John, "our faith."

Let us ask the Holy Spirit in these last days, even in the novena of the Holy Spirit, in the last days of the Easter season, for the grace to discern what is worldliness and what is the Gospel, and to not be deceived, because the world hates us, the world hated Jesus and Jesus prayed that the Father would defend us from the spirit of the world (John 17 :15).

I believe that we can ask ourselves: what is the spirit of the world? What is this worldliness, capable of hating, of destroying Jesus and his disciples, even of corrupting them and of corrupting the Church? What is the spirit of the world, what is it, it will do us good to think about it. It is a style of life, worldliness. But some people think it's worldliness to party, to live in parties. No, no. It could be that, but it's not that essentially.

Jesus speaks of the world several times, and especially in his farewell address to the apostles, (John 15: 18-21). And here he says, "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first" (v. 18). Clearly he is speaking of the hatred that the world had towards Jesus and will have towards us. And in the prayer he says at the table with the disciples at the Last Supper, he asks the Father not to take them out of the world, but to defend them from the spirit of the world (John 17: 15).

Let us pray today for the people who are responsible for burying the dead in this pandemic. It is one of the works of mercy to bury the dead and of course it is not a pleasant thing. Let us pray for them who also risk their lives and may catch the infection.