Pope: Satan tricks people into being selfish, leaving them loveless

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Payback with Satan is rotten as he pushes people to be loveless and selfish, finally leaving them with nothing and alone, Pope Francis said.

“Satan always rips us off, always!” he said during a morning Mass homily.

The pope concelebrated Mass May 14 with Archbishop Ricardo Tobon Restrepo of Medellin, Colombia, in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

During the Mass, attended by employees of the Vatican Museums and a group of alumni from Rome’s Pontifical Portuguese College, the pope said selfish people don’t understand what giving and love are.

Judas exemplified this self-centeredness when he complained that the expensive oil Mary used to anoint Jesus’ feet could have been sold for money to give to the poor, the pope said.

The account from the Gospel of John explains that Judas didn’t care about the poor and wanted the money instead because he was a thief and would steal the contributions.

The account from the Gospel of John suggests that Judas’ attitude toward money was a form of idolatry, the pope said.

“This is the first reference that I have found in the Gospels of poverty as an ideology,” Pope Francis said, according to the Vatican Radio website.

“The ideologist doesn’t know what love is because he doesn’t know how to give himself,” he said.

Judas was “distant in his solitude” and his selfishness grew to the point of betraying Jesus, he said.

The selfish person “takes care of his own life, grows in this egoism and becomes a traitor, but always alone.”

People who isolate their conscience within their egotistical world end up losing their conscience, like Judas who “was an idolater, attached to money.”

“This idolatry led him to isolate himself” from the community and from others.

“This is the ordeal of an isolated conscience, when a Christian begins to isolate himself, he also isolates his conscience from the sense of community, the sense of the church and from the love that Jesus gives us,” he said.

On the other hand, it’s only by giving one’s life and by “losing” it, as Jesus says, that one regains it in fullness, the pope said.

People who “give their lives for love are never alone, they’re always in a community, in a family,” he said, reflecting on the day’s reading from the Gospel of John in which Jesus tells his disciples, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

People, like Judas, who want to keep their life all for themselves end up losing it, he said. That is why “Satan’s payback is rotten,” he’s always tricking people into a bad deal.

If people want to follow Jesus, they have to “live life as a gift” to give to others, “not as a treasure to keep” for one’s own, he said.

Pope Francis asked people to pray to the Holy Spirit “to give me this big heart, this heart that is able to love with humility, with meekness.” May people also call on the Holy Spirit to “always free us from that other path of selfishness, which eventually ends badly.”

Posted on May 14, 2013, to: