Pope Francis has warned that apathy, clericalism, and worldliness are preventing people from knowing Jesus.
In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on May 5, the pontiff said “clericalism” seeks to put oneself in Jesus’ place.
“Instead of letting the Master lead, clericalism imposes restrictions that must be met before one enters the door of faith,” he said.
The pope said clericalism, especially in the Catholic Church, “is a terrible sickness that robs the faithful of freedom and impedes them from going to Jesus.”
Pope Francis said that just like those who failed to recognize Jesus’ divinity, Christians can fall prey to “prejudiced attitudes” that ultimately become stumbling blocks to faith.
He said the common thread among those impediments is that “there is a lack of freedom, and one cannot follow Jesus without freedom.”
The pontiff added that wealth is also among the stumbling blocks that impede people from truly knowing Christ.
“Riches are an impediment to moving forward,” he said.
“Should we fall into pauperism? No, but don’t be a slave to wealth, do not live for wealth because wealth is a lord, it is the lord of this world and we cannot serve two masters. Wealth stops us,” said Pope Francis.
A rigidity of heart that seeks a strict interpretation of the law, the pope continued, is another impediment. While faithfulness to God is a gift, “rigidity is a security for myself.”
“These are the things that stop us from being part of Jesus’ flock,” Pope Francis said.
“May the Lord enlighten us to see within us whether there is the freedom to pass through the door that is Jesus and to go to him to become sheep in his flock.”
The pope began his Mass by offering prayers for those who have died from the new coronavirus pandemic.
“They died alone, without the caress of their loved ones — many of them — without even a funeral. May the Lord welcome them into his glory,” said Pope Francis.