“Where there is God, there is mercy.” This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ homily during morning Mass in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta.
The Pope drew his homily from today’s first reading which recalled the conversion of the city of Nineveh after listening to the preaching of the prophet Jonah.
Noting Jonah’s initial hesitance to preaching in God’s name, the Pope said that it was a miracle that he set aside his stubbornness and obeyed God’s will.
However, following their conversion, Jonah is angered that God forgives the people of Nineveh. The prophet, the Pope said, is “a man who is not docile to the spirit of God.” If one’s heart is hard, he said, “there is resistance to the mercy of God.”
“Those words: “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? Because You are a merciful and gracious God’, and I did all the work to preach, I have done my job well, and you forgive them? It is a heart with that hardness that does not allow the mercy of God to enter. My preaching is more important, my thoughts are more important, that whole list of commandments that I must observe are more important,” the Pope said.
The Holy Father also noted that Jesus also faced the same criticism from the Pharisees.
“Jesus as well lived this drama with the Doctors of the Law, who did not understand why He did not let them stone the adulterous woman, why He went to dine with publicans and sinners: they did not understand. They did not understand mercy.
The 78 year old Pontiff also noted that today’s Psalm is an invitation to wait for the Lord because there, one finds mercy.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis reminded the faithful of the coming Jubilee Year of Mercy, as well as inviting them to pray in order to understand what mercy is and to reflect on God’s words: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice!”