Pope Francis has warned against those doing the work of the devil by claiming “exclusive” rights over Jesus and the King-dom of God.
Referring to September 26 gospel reading from St Mark, Pope Francis cited Jesus’ warning that “instead of dividing people into good and bad, we are all called to watch over our hearts, so that we do not succumb to evil and give scandal to others”.
Jesus had criticised the disciples for wanting to prevent someone who was not in their group from taking certain actions in the name of Jesus.
The disciples wanted to prevent a good work because the one who did it did not belong to their group, the Pope said. “They think that they have exclusive rights over Jesus and that they are the only ones authorised to work for the Kingdom of God.”
But in this way, they consider others as strangers, to the point of becoming hostile towards them. Pope Francis warned that the temptation to keep those who do not think like us at a distance “is the root of many evils in history, of absolutism that has often generated dictatorships and of so much violence against those who are different.”
The devil, who is the “divider” – the word’s roots are in division – insinuates suspicion to divide and exclude people. “Sometimes we too, instead of being humble and open communities, can give the impression that we are ‘at the top of the class’ and keep others at a distance; instead of trying to walk with everyone, we can show our ‘believers’ licence.”