Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square before the Wednesday general audience Dec. 4, 2013. Credit: Kyle Burkhart/CNA.
“This can happen to all of us. All of us are sinners and all are tempted and temptation is our daily bread,” the Pope explained in his Jan. 31 homily.
Beginning his homily, addressed to those present in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, the pontiff reflected on the sin of David in the day’s first reading, taken from the Frist Book of Samuel.
Recalling how David fell in love with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his generals, Uriah – and then had Uriah placed in the front lines of battle so that he was killed – the Pope highlighted that David’s attitude in the situation was not one of repentance, but of “problem solving.”
“David is facing a great sin, but he does not perceive it as a sin. It doesn't come to his mind to ask for forgiveness,” the pontiff observed, noting that what comes to his mind instead is “how do I solve this?”
However, despite the severity of the king’s actions, Pope Francis explained that these sins of murder and adultery are still not as dangerous as David’s initial mentality.
“All of us are sinners and all are tempted,” he said, stating that “If one of us says: 'But I have never been tempted,' either you are an angel or you are a little silly. No? It's comprehensible.”
“Battling is normal in life and the devil is not quiet, he wants his victory,” however “the problem - the more serious problem is in this passage - it is not so much temptation and sin against the ninth commandment, but how David reacts.”
“Here David does not speak of sin,” emphasized the Pope, “he speaks of a problem that he should resolve,” adding that “This is a sign! When the Kingdom of God lessens, when the Kingdom of God decreases, one of the signs is that the sense of sin is lost.”
Drawing attention to the words of the Our Father in which we pray “Thy kingdom come,” the pontiff observed that we are asking God to “grow your kingdom,” but when we lose our ability to recognize sin, a “super powerful anthropological vision” emerges that states “I can do everything.”
This, noted the Pope, is “the power of man instead of the glory of God!” emphasizing that “this is the daily bread.” “
“For this reason,” he continued, we must pray every day that “Your Kingdom come, may your Kingdom grow,” because “salvation will not come from our mischief, from our cunning, from our ability to make negotiations.”
“Salvation will come from the grace of God and from the daily training that we do from this grace in the Christian life.”
Reflecting on the many sins committed, Pope Francis emphasized that “The greatest sin today is that men have lost the sense of sin,” and that Uriah, as an innocent man put to death because of David’s actions, is an emblem of all victims of arrogance.
“I confess, when I see these injustices, this human pride, even when I see the danger that it could happen to myself, the danger of losing the sense of sin,” the pontiff observed, “it makes me think well of the many Uriah's in history.”
There are so many Uriah's, he noted, “that also suffer today in our Christian mediocrity, when we lose the sense of sin, when we allow the Kingdom of God to decrease,” adding that “these are the martyrs of our unrecognized sins.”
Concluding his reflections, Pope Francis stated that “today it will do us well to pray for ourselves, so the Lord gives us always the grace not to lose the sense of sin,” and “so that the Kingdom of God does not decrease in us.”
“(It will also do us well),” emphasized the Pope, “to carry a spiritual flower to the tomb of these contemporary Uriah's,” who pay the price of those Christians that want to “feel safe.”