VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Don’t use peer pressure, greed or laziness as an excuse to chase after false gods and become a wildly successful failure, Pope Francis said.
Slow down, reflect and choose the path that takes you closer to God and your loved ones, he said Feb. 19 during his morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
One mistake in life, he said, is “always seeking one’s own success, one’s own benefit without thinking about the Lord, without thinking about one’s family,” he said.
Vatican Radio and L’Osservatore Romano released excerpts from his homily, which examined the day’s first reading from Deuteronomy, in which Moses sets before the people “life and prosperity, death and doom,” and encourages them to choose life by following the Lord.
Christians are still faced with the same difficult choice every day, the pope said, “to choose between God and the other gods — those that have no power to give us anything, just tiny little what-nots that are fleeting.”
It is not easy to make the right choice because “we always have this habit of following the crowd a little.”
“It’s easier to live letting ourselves be carried by inertia in life, by each situation, by habits,” and it’s easier to become a slave to “other gods,” he said.
“So often we are on the run, we are in a rush without realizing what the road we’re on is like and we let ourselves — without thinking — be swept up by needs, by the necessities of the day.”
“Why do we go so quickly in life without realizing what path we’re taking?” he asked. “Because we want to win, we want to profit, we want success.”
But, the pope said, the day’s Gospel reading from St. Luke’s Gospel has Jesus asking, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
“Someone can gain everything, but in the end become a failure,” the pope said. They may have erected a monument, had a self-portrait made, “but you have failed; you did not know how to choose well between life and death,” the pope said.
The church, especially during Lent, asks people to slow down and reflect on their lives, he said. “It will do us well to stop and think a bit during the day: What is my lifestyle like? What paths am I taking?”
Take five or 10 minutes each day to ask: “How fast am I living my life? Do I reflect on the things that I do? What is my relationship with God like and with my family?” he said, adding that just by reflecting on the last question, “surely we will find things that we have to correct.”
The pope asked people to pray for the grace to have the courage to make the right choice each time, every day, in all things.
Referring to the day’s responsorial Psalm, he said those who hope in the Lord and his counsel are blessed, and they know that God is always by their side to help them.
“He never leaves us by ourselves, never. He is always with us. Even during those moments of choosing he is with us.”