Pope Francis: The Devil Seeks to Destroy the Church Through Envy

Pope Francis exposes the Blessed Sacrament during Mass on April 16, 2020.

VATICAN CITY — The devil uses envy to try to thwart the proclamation of the Gospel, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass Saturday.

In his homily in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta, May 9, the pope reflected on the day’s first reading, Acts 13:44-52, in which the Jewish community at Antioch rejects St. Paul’s preaching about Jesus.

He said: “On the one hand there is the Lord, there is the Holy Spirit who makes the Church grow, and it grows ever more: this is true. But on the other hand, there is the evil spirit that seeks to destroy the Church.”

After citing other examples in the Acts of the Apostles where the apostles faced rejection, the pope asked: “And what is the devil’s instrument to destroy the Gospel proclamation? Envy. The Book of Wisdom [2:24] says it clearly: ‘Through the devil’s envy sin has entered the world’ — envy, jealousy, here. Always this bitter, bitter feeling.”

Reflecting on this enduring struggle, Pope Francis quoted St. Augustine of Hippo, who wrote in The City of God that “the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world’s persecutions and God’s consolations.”


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