April 11, 2014 – 4:39 PM
By Michael W. Chapman
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(CNSNews.com) – The Devil does not want people to follow Christ, so he tempts them, and this is not old-fashioned rhetoric because “the Devil is here, even in the 21st century” and we must learn “how to fight against Satan,” said Pope Francis during his homily at Mass on Friday in Rome.
Speaking in the chapel of the Vatican guesthouse, St. Martha’s House, where he resides, Pope Francis told the small audience gathered there that just as Jesus Christ was tempted in the desert by Satan, so too is every person in today’s world tempted by the Devil.
“The Devil tempted Jesus many times and Jesus experienced temptation and persecution throughout his lifetime,” said the Pope, as reported by Vatican Radio. “And He warned that whoever wants to follow Jesus must be aware of this reality.”
The Pope went on to talk about how temptations usually grow slowly and often spread to other people, citing gossip as an example.
“We have a temptation that grows; it grows and infects others,” said the Pope. “For example, let’s look at gossip: I’m a bit envious of this or that person and at first I’m just envious inside, and I need to share it and go to another person and say: ‘But have you seen that person?’”
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The Devil tries to tempt Jesus Christ in the desert. (Public Domain image)
“This is the way gossip works and all of us have been tempted to gossip,” he said. “It’s a daily temptation. And it begins in this way, discreetly, like a trickle of water. It grows by infecting others and in the end it justifies itself.”
“We are all tempted because the law of our spiritual life, our Christian life, is a struggle, a struggle,” said Pope Francis. “That’s because the Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness, he doesn’t want us to follow Christ.”
The Pope continued, “Maybe some of you might say: ‘But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the Devil in the 21st century!’ But look out because the devil is present! The devil is here, even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”