(Vatican Radio) God always forgives and does not know how to do otherwise, said Pope Francis in his homily at Friday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. The Lord always waits for us and forgives us, he said. He is “the God of forgiveness” and he celebrates every person’s return to him.
The Pope went on to say that God longs for us when we distance ourselves from him. Drawing on the day’s first reading from Hosea, he observed that the Lord speaks to his people with tenderness.
Even when God invites us to conversion and uses stern words, God’s words always include “this loving longing” and the exhortation of the Father who says to the son: “Come back. It is time to come back home.”
“This is the heart of our Father,” he said. “God is like that: he does not tire, he does not tire. And God did this for many centuries, with so much apostasy… among the people. And he always returns because our God is a God who waits.
“Adam left paradise with a punishment but also with a promise. And … the Lord is faithful to his promise because he cannot deny himself. He is faithful. And, in this way, he waited for all of us, throughout all of history. He is the God who waits for us always,” the Pope added.
Francis then turned his thoughts to the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Gospel of Luke, he said, tells us that the father saw the son from afar because he was waiting for him. The father, he said, “went onto the terrace every day to see if his son would return. He waited. And when he saw him, he went out in haste and ‘threw himself on his neck’. The son had prepared some words to say but the father did not let him speak; his embrace covered his mouth.”
“This is our Father, the God that waits for us. Always,” he said.
“‘But father, I have so many sins, I do not know if he will be happy’,” the Pope said, suggesting a conversation between a priest and a person fallen from God. “‘But try! If you want to know the tenderness of this Father, go to him and try. Then come and tell me.’”
The Pope insisted on the loving welcome of God: “The God who waits for us. God who waits and also God who forgives. He is the God of mercy; he does not tire of forgiving. We are the ones who tire in asking for forgiveness, but he does not tire.”
“Seventy times seven, always. Let us go forward with forgiveness. And from a business point of view, the balance is negative. He always loses: he loses in the balance of things but he wins in love,” he said.
God “is the first to fulfill the commandment of love,” he continued. “He loves and does not know how to do otherwise.”
“The miracles that Jesus did with many sick people were also a sign of the great miracle that every day the Lord does with us when we have the courage to get up and go to him,” he added. When people return to God, God celebrates “not like the banquet of the rich man, who had the poor Lazarus at his door,” he said. “He holds banquet, like the father of the prodigal son.”
Every person who has the courage to approach God “will find the joy of the feast of God,” he said. “May this word help us to think of our Father, who waits for us always and who always forgives us and celebrates our return.”
Text from Vatican Radio website