“None of us is a criminal, none of us is responsible for big sins like David with Uriah's wife, nobody. Where is the danger? You don’t notice it when yet let yourself slowly slide because the fall is anesthetised. Yet we slowly slide, relativising things, losing loyalty to God.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. In his homily he warned against sliding, falling into sin, anesthetised, when, relativising and negotiating with the gods of money, vanity and pride, we lose loyalty to God.
The pontiff cited the story of Solomon, from today's First Reading (1Ki 11.4-13) which talks “so to speak, about Solomon’s apostasy” who was not faithful to the Lord.
When he was old, Solomon’s wives turned his heart towards other gods. He was first a "good young man” who asked the Lord only for wisdom; so God made him wise, to the extent that judges came to him and the Queen of Sheba came from Africa, bearing gifts because she had heard of his wisdom.
"Probably she was a bit of a philosopher and asked him difficult questions," Francis said, adding that "Solomon sailed through these questions with ease" because he knew what to say. At that time, Francis explained, it was possible to have more than one wife, which does not mean, he made it clear, that it was lawful to be a "womaniser".
Solomon's heart, however, weakened not because he was married to these women, which he could do, but because he had chosen them from another people, with other gods. Thus, Solomon fell into a "trap" and did nothing when one wife told him to worship Chemosh or Moloch. He did the same for all his foreign wives who offered sacrifices to their gods. In short, "he allowed everything, and stopped worshiping the one God”.
With a heart weakened by too much affection for women, "paganism entered his life". Thus, the wise young man who had prayed well asking for wisdom fell to the extent that the Lord rejected him. "It wasn't an overnight apostasy; it was a slow apostasy."
Even King David, his father, had in fact greatly sinned at least twice, but had immediately repented and asked for forgiveness: he remained faithful to the Lord who protected him onto the end. David wept for that sin and for the death of his son Absalom and whilst he first fled from him, he humbled himself thinking about his sin, whilst people were insulting him. “He was holy. Solomon is not a saint.”
The Lord had given him many gifts but he wasted everything for he let his heart weaken. This is not, Francis noted, the "sin of the past", but that of “sliding”.
"The women turned his heart and the Lord scolded him: 'You have turned your heart.' Such a thing happens in life. None of us is a criminal, none of us is responsible for big sins like David with Uriah's wife, nobody. Where is the danger? You don’t notice it as you let yourself slowly slide because the fall is anesthetised. Yet we slowly slide, relativising things, losing loyalty to God.”
Solomon’s wives “belonged to other peoples, they had other gods. How many times do we forget the Lord and enter into negotiations with other gods: money, vanity, and pride. This happens slowly and without God’s grace, everything is lost.”
Francis cited again Psalm 105 (106) to stress how mixing with other people and learning to act like them means becoming worldly, pagan.
“For us this slow slide in life towards worldliness is a serious sin: 'Everyone does it; indeed, it’s no problem, really, it’s not ideal, but ...’. Such attitudes justify us but the price is losing loyalty to the one God. They are modern idols. Let's think about the sin of worldliness, losing the Gospel’s genuineness, the genuineness of the Word of God, the love of God who gave his life for us.”
In fact, “No one can be [simultaneously] comfortable with God and the devil. All of us say this when we talk about someone who is a little like this: 'This one is well with God and the devil'. He has lost his loyalty.” In practice, this means being faithful “neither to God nor the devil".
In concluding, Francis urged the faithful to ask the Lord for the grace of stopping us when we realise that our heart is starting to slide.
“Let's think about Solomon’s sin, let us think about how the wise Solomon, blessed by the Lord, with all the inheritance of his father David, slowly fell, anesthetised vis-à-vis idolatry, worldliness.” In the end, “His kingdom was taken away.”
“Let us ask the Lord for the grace to see when our heart begins to weaken and slide, and stop us. His grace and love will stop us if we pray to him.”