VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Temptation is a normal part of life’s struggle, and anyone who claims to be immune from it is either a little angel visiting from heaven or “a bit of an idiot,” Pope Francis said.
The biggest problem in the world, in fact, isn’t temptation or sin, rather it is people deluding themselves that they’re not sinners and losing any sense of sin, he said Jan. 31 during his early morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
“All of us are sinners and all of us are tempted; temptation is our daily bread,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.
“If someone tells us, ‘Well, I have never been tempted,'” that person is either “a cherub or a bit of an idiot, right?” he said.
The battle against sin and temptation “is normal in life,” he said, because the devil is always up to something “and he wants victory.”
The pope reflected on the day’s reading from the Second Book of Samuel, in which David commits adultery with Bathsheba and then has her husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed in battle as a last resort to avoid trouble with Uriah for having impregnated Bathsheba.
“The most serious problem in this reading isn’t so much the temptation and the sin” of adultery, the pope said, “but how David behaves.” He doesn’t see what he’s done as a sin, but as a problem to fix, the pope said.
In the “Our Father,” Christians pray to the Lord “thy kingdom come,” he said. But when people lose all sense of sin, he said, they also lose the sense that God, his glory and kingdom must be at the center of their daily life.
What emerges instead is a vision of man as “super powerful, in which ‘I can do anything.'”
“Salvation will not come through our cunning, our shrewdness” or savvy in wheeling and dealing, he said. “Salvation will come from the grace of God” and praying daily for that grace.
Many people like Uriah end up paying a high price for other people’s pride and for Christians who are too self-assured to see and confess their sin, he said.
“This human pride, also when I see the danger that it’s happening to me, the danger of losing the sense of sin, it’s good for me to think about the many Uriahs throughout history, the many Uriahs who today suffer from our Christian mediocrity when we lose the sense of sin and let the kingdom of God fall,” the pope said.
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