Pope Francis called on authorities, including those in the Church, to work in the interest of the people and of the Creator.
“In any age, those who have authority, any authority, also in the Church, in God’s people, may be tempted to work in their own interests instead of those of God,” said the pontiff in his weekly address after the prayer of the Angelus in the Vatican.
He reminded the public that “true authority is when it carries out service” and “it is in serving, not exploiting others.”
The pope reflected on the Gospel reading of the day that tells of Jesus foreseeing his passion and death in the parable of the murderous vintners.
In the parable, a landowner sent servants to collect the fruit from the tenants but the tenants beat and even killed some of the servants.
Then the landowner sent his son. Just like the servants who he sent first, his son was killed by the winegrowers who wanted to take over the vineyard.
The pope said the landowner represents God and the vineyard is the people, while the servants are the prophets.
“With this very harsh parable, Jesus confronts his interlocutors with their responsibility, and He does so with extreme clarity,” said Pope Francis.
The pontiff told the faithful not to think that the admonition applies only to those who rejected Jesus at that time.
“It applies to all times, including our own. Even today God awaits the fruits of His vineyard from those He has sent to work in it. All of us,” he said.
Pope Francis said the vineyard, which represents the people, “is the Lord’s, not ours.”
“Authority is a service, and as such should be exercised, for the good of all and for the dissemination of the Gospel,” he said.
The pontiff said “It is awful to see when people who have authority in the Church seek their own interests.”
He also reflected on the second reading of the day that tells people how to be good workers in the Lord’s vineyard.
He said good workers of the Lord must be “true, noble, just, pure, loved and honored; that which is virtuous and praiseworthy.”
“It is the attitude of authority and also of each one of us, because every one of us, even in a small, tiny way, has a certain authority,” said the pope.
“In this way, we shall become a Church ever richer in the fruits of holiness, we shall give glory to the Father who loves us with infinite tenderness, to the Son who continues to give us salvation, and to the Spirit who opens our hearts and impels us towards the fullness of goodness,” he said.