By Alessandro Di Bussolo
The devil exists, sowing hatred and death throughout the world because he is envious that the Son of God became man. This was at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning.
The Pope was reflecting on the First Reading from the Book of Wisdom, and the first verse in particular, which begins: "God created us for incorruption, and made us in His image". The same verse continues adding: "But through the devil’s envy, death entered the world".
Pope Francis explained how "the envy of that proud angel who refused to accept the incarnation" led him "to destroy humanity". That is how "jealousy, envy, rivalry" entered our hearts, said the Pope, while instead "we could live in peace like brothers and sisters”. This is where "the struggle and the desire to destroy" begins, he added.
Gossip destroys others
Pope Francis described an imaginary dialogue with the faithful: "But Father, I don't destroy anyone". "No? And what about your gossiping? When you talk badly about someone you destroy them". The Pope quoted the Apostle James: "The tongue is a fearsome weapon". "Gossip kills. Slander kills", he said.
We are fighting a war inside ourselves, continued Pope Francis, and we have done so from the beginning. “Cain and Abel were brothers”, he said, “but the jealousy and the envy of the one destroyed the other". This is the way it is, said the Pope, just watch the evening news: "wars, destruction, people dying of illnesses caused by wars".
Berlin Wall anniversary
Pope Francis recalled the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the horrors of war, the Nazis, and those who "tortured anyone who was not of 'pure race' ".
Behind all this there is someone who moves us to do these things. It's what we call temptation. When we go to confession, we say to the priest: "Father, I was tempted by this, that, and the other...". Someone touches your heart to lead you down the wrong road. Someone sows destruction and hatred in our hearts. Today we have to say it clearly, there are many who sow hatred in the world, who destroy.
The Pope said he often has the impression the news is a story of hatred and destruction, wars and terrorist attacks. “So many children die of hunger and disease" because they have no water, no education, or healthcare, said the Pope. Instead, “the money needed for this goes to manufacturing weapons of destruction". This is what happens in the world, but also "in my soul and in yours", he continued, because of the devil’s envy and hatred. "And why is the devil envious?” asked the Pope: he is envious “of our human nature".
Do you know why? Because the Son of God became one of us. The devil cannot bare that.
Mud of politics
That is why he destroys, said Pope Francis, and that is “the root of the devil’s envy, the root of our evils, our temptations, it is the root of wars, hunger, of all the calamities in the world". It is not the norm to destroy and sow hatred, the Pope continued, not even in politics. "But some people do it". Often one politician is tempted to sling mud at another, “to destroy the other", using both lies and truth. This is not healthy and clean political rivalry "for the good of the country". Those kinds of politicians use insults to diminish opponents, afraid they may appear more competent.
I want all of us to think about this: why is there so much hatred in the world today? In families that cannot be reconciled, in our neighbourhood, in the workplace, in politics... The devil is the sower of hatred: “Death entered the world through the devil’s envy”. Some say: but Father, the devil does not exist, it is evil, such an ethereal evil... But God’s Word is clear. The devil got angry with Jesus. Read the Gospel: it’s clear, whether we have faith or not.
Pope Francis concluded praying that God “may make our hearts grow in faith in Jesus Christ, His Son", who assumed our human nature, "to fight with our flesh and to be victorious in our flesh" over the devil and evil. May this faith "give us the strength not to play the game of the envious one, the great liar, the sower of hatred".