Commenting on the story of David and Bathsheba, Francis warns that "corruption is a sin that is easier for all of us who have some power, be it ecclesiastical, religious, economic, or political . . . Because the devil makes us feel secure: 'I can do it’."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “We are all sinners, Lord, but never corrupt,” said Pope Francis as he ended this morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta with a prayer “for the Church, beginning with ourselves, for the pope, for the bishops, for the priests, for consecrated men and women, for the lay faithful”.
Drawing his inspiration from the biblical story of David and Bathsheba, the pontiff noted how sin leads the corrupt not to feel the need for God's forgiveness, unlike other sinners. "Someone who is corrupt does not need to ask for forgiveness" because he or she just needs the power on which corruption stands.
This is what King David did when he fell in love with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his officers, Uriah, who was fighting far away. After seducing the woman and learning that she was pregnant, David came up with a plan to cover the adultery. He recalled Uriah from the front and gave him the opportunity of going home to rest. Uriah, who was loyal, did not feel like going home to be with his wife whilst his men were dying in battle. After this, David tried again by getting him drunk, but even this does not work.
“This put David in a difficult position,” the pope said. “But he said to himself, ‘I can do it.’ . . . In the letter he wrote he said, ‘Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce. Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead.’ This was a death sentence. This man, a faithful man – faithful to the law, faithful to his people – faithful to his king – carried with himself his own death sentence.”
"David is a saint but also a sinner." He yielded to lust; yet God loved him "very much". Indeed, "the great, the noble David, felt so "secure” because the kingdom was strong. After committing adultery he did everything he could to fix the situation, lying if need be, and ordered the murder of a loyal man, albeit passing it off as a casualty of battle.
"This is a moment in David's life that shows us something that can happen in our lives: it is the path from sin to corruption. David begins here, and takes the first step towards corruption. He has power; he has strength. For this reason, corruption is a sin that is easier for all of us who have some power, be it ecclesiastical, religious, economic, or political . . . Because the devil makes us feel secure: 'I can do it’."
Corruption – from which David will redeem himself through God’s grace – touched the heart of the "brave youth" who faced off the Philistine with a sling and five stones.
"Let me stress today only this: there is a time when the habit of sinning or a moment in which we feel that our situation is so secure, that we are so well regarded and have so much power,” that sin stops “being sin” and becomes “corruption”.
"The Lord always forgives. But one of the ugliest things that corruption does is that the corrupt person does not [feel the] need to ask for forgiveness; he or she does not feel it.
“Today, let us offer a prayer for the Church, beginning with ourselves, for the pope, for the bishops, for the priests, for consecrated men and women, for the lay faithful: ‘Lord, save us, save us from corruption. Yes, Lord, we are sinners, all of us, but [let us] never [become] corrupt!’ Let us ask for this grace.”