God never tires of forgiving us, Pope reflects

Pope Francis receives the sacrament of Confession at a penance service held at St. Peter's Basilica, March 28, 2014. Credit: ANSA/OSSERVATORE ROMANO.

Pope Francis dedicated his homily at Friday’s Mass to the mercy of God, emphasizing that while God is firm in his call for conversion, he is always waiting to receive the sinner with open arms.

“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,” the Pope observed in his March 28 Mass.

Speaking to those gathered in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse chapel, the Roman Pontiff began by calling attention to the day’s first reading, taken from Hosea, in which the prophet encourages the people of Israel to return to the true God, and revealing to them the Lord’s desire to make them prosper and bear fruit.

From this book we are able to see how God always speaks to his people with tenderness, the Pope reflected.

Even when God is strict in his invitation to convert, Pope Francis observed, his words always include “this loving longing” which reflects the father’s words to the prodigal son, “Come back. It is time to come back home.”

“This is the heart of our Father. 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.”

Recalling how “Adam left paradise with a punishment but also with a promise,” the Roman Pontiff explained that “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.”

Shifting his thoughts to the parable of the prodigal son, the Pope noted how Luke’s Gospel reveals to us that the father was waiting for his son’s return and that he “went onto the terrace every day to see if his son would return. He waited.”

“When he saw him, he went out in haste and ‘threw himself on his neck,’” Pope Francis noted, emphasizing that although “the son had prepared some words to say,” his father “did not let him speak; his embrace covered his mouth.”

Observing how there are some who are far from the Church who might say, “But father, I have so many sins, I do not know if he will be happy,” Pope Francis echoed the words a priest might say in response, encouraging the person “But try!”

“If you want to know the tenderness of this Father, go to him and try. Then come and tell me.”

Noting that God will not tire of forgiving us our sins, the Pope said: “Seventy times seven, always.”
“Let us go forward with forgiveness,” Pope Francis stated, adding that “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.”

However, God “is the first to fulfill the commandment of love,” he noted, highlighting that “he loves and does not know how to do otherwise.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily by drawing attention to the miracles of healing which Jesus performed, explaining that the curing of the sick is “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.”

When a sinner returns to God, he does not celebrate “like the banquet of the rich man, who had the poor Lazarus at his door,” the Roman Pontiff observed, but rather, “he holds a banquet, like the father of the prodigal son.”

Each person who has the courage to approach God “will find the joy” of his feast, the Pope stated, praying that all would “think of our Father, who waits for us always and who always forgives us and celebrates our return.”


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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