VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As fleeting as soap bubbles, showy as peacocks and shallow as an over-primped star, conceited Christians are building their lives on lies and their faith on shifting sands, Pope Francis said.
Everyone is vulnerable to vanity, even Christians, the pope said in a morning homily Sept. 25.
However, boastfulness “is a very serious spiritual disease” for Christians because it distances them from the truth. Christians are called to “be authentic with the truth of reality and of the Gospel,” he said in remarks reported by Vatican Radio.
(See a video)
The pope’s homily focused on the day’s reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes, which speaks about the “vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” (Eccl 1:2-11).
Even when living out the faith and doing good, Christians must avoid the temptation of “showing off,” he said during an early morning Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
“The vain say, ‘Hey, look, I’m giving this check for the church’s work,’ and they show off the check; then they scam the church from behind,” he said.
There are others who “seem like peacocks,” strutting around bragging: “‘I’m related to that priest, that sister, that bishop, my family is a Christian family.'”
Jesus was especially critical, he said, of “doctors of the law,” who were “strolling in the square” with “luxurious clothes” like princes.
“How many Christians live off of appearances! Their lives are like a soap bubble. A soap bubble is beautiful! It has so many colors! But it lasts one second and then what?”
People can even be vain about death, with their grandiose, ornate funeral monuments and tombs, he said. “The truth is we return to the bare earth.”
The pope said vanity is based on lies and fantasy, which cause “terrible anxiety.”
“It’s like those people who put on too much makeup and then they’re afraid of getting rained on and all the makeup running down their face.”
“Only truth gives us peace,” he said.
People need to reflect on how they pray, fast, give alms and help those in need, he said.
It should be done quietly and discreetly.
“No need to blow the horn,” he said, “The Father sees it and that’s enough.”
Jesus wants people to build their lives on rock — on Christ and the truth, not on sand that shifts and slides and is “incapable of resisting temptation.”
If “you don’t have something solid” guiding and anchoring your life, “you will come and go, too,” like all material things, he said.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103