The love of money is the root of all evil - that stark warning contained in St Paul's first letter to Timothy was at the heart of Pope Francis' homily at his morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Friday.
Reflecting on the way in which greed can corrupt our hearts and weaken our faith, the Pope stressed we can never serve God and money at the same time. Money, the Pope went on, sickens our minds, poisons our thoughts, even poisons our faith, leading us down the path of jealousy, quarrels, suspicion and conflict. While money begins by offering a sense of wellbeing, if we are not careful wealth can quickly lead to vanity, self-importance and the sin of pride.
Pope Francis noted many people may object that the Ten Commandments say nothing about the evils of money. Yet when we worship money, he said, we are sinning against the first Commandment and making money our idol in place of God. The early Fathers of the Church, he said, put it in a very blunt way, calling money 'the dung of the devil' which corrupts and leads us away from our faith.
Instead of focusing on money, the Pope said, we should strive for justice, piety, faith and charity, as well as the gifts of patience and meekness which are the ways of the Lord. Pope Francis concluded with the wish that God will help each one of us to avoid falling into the trap of making money our idol.