(Vatican Radio) Resisting the seduction of temptation is possible only “when listening to the Word of Jesus.” Those were the words of Pope Francis in his homily at the Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. Despite our weaknesses, the Pope repeated, Christ always gives us “confidence” and opens to us a horizon wider than our limitations.
Temptation manifests itself as a harmless attraction and ends up turning into a cage. Rather than trying to escape, more often we try to minimize the slavery, being deaf to the Word of God. In his homily, Pope Francis reaffirms a truth and a sequence described by St. James in the day’s reading. The truth is that man is tempted not by God, but by his passions. The sequence is produced by the same passions, which, the Apostle says, “conceive and produce sin. And sin, once committed, brings forth death”:
Further, Pope Francis continued, the temptation “looks for another to keep it company, it is contagious” and “in growing, in being contagious, the temptation closes us in in an environment where you can’t get out easily.” This is the experience of the Apostles related in the Gospel of the day, where the Twelve blame each other under the eyes of the Master for not having brought bread on board the boat. Jesus, the Pope said, perhaps smiling at the quarrel, invites them to watch out for “the leaven of the Pharisees, of Herod.” But the Apostles, who, not listening to Him, continued to argue, were “so closed in on the issue of who was to blame for not having brought the bread, that they did not have space, the time, the light for the Word of God”:
This confidence, the Pope says, is “a great strength when we are tempted: the Lord waits for us... trusts us who are so tempted, who are sinners... He always opens horizons.” On the other hand, Pope Francis said, the devil, “ with temptation, closes, closes, closes” and makes an environment similar to the boat of the Apostles. And not to be “imprisoned” by this type of environment, he concluded, is possible only “when listening to the Word of Jesus”: