‘Brothers and sisters, God doesn’t retaliate! God loves us, He doesn’t retaliate, He waits to forgive us, to embrace us.’
Pope Francis said this during his midday Angelus address on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, as he reflected on the parable of the wine growers.
Noting the parable speaks of the covenant that God wished to establish with humanity and in which, He has also called us to participate, Francis observed that this, just like any other love story, has its positive moments, but also those marked by betrayals and rejections.
This story shows that God’s disappointment over man’s evil behavior, isn’t the last word.
“Here is the great novelty of Christianity: A God that, although disappointed by our mistakes and our sins, does not fail in His word; He doesn’t stop and, above all, He doesn’t retaliate!”
The Holy Father reminded the pilgrims in the Square, that rather God is waiting to forgive and embrace us, to offer us a new start.
“Through the ‘rejected stones’ — and Christ is the first stone that the builders have rejected — through situations of weakness and sin –,” Francis stressed: “God continues to put in circulation the “new wine” of his vineyard, namely mercy.”
There is only one impediment in face of God’s tenacious and tender will, Francis said, “our arrogance and our presumption, which sometimes even becomes violence!”
Therefore, he encouraged faithful to come out of the vineyard and to put ourselves at the service of brothers that are not with us, to shake one another and encourage each other, to remind ourselves to be the Lord’s vineyard in every environment, including the most distant and uncomfortable.
Before reciting the midday prayer, Francis prayed that Mary helps all faithful “to be everywhere, especially in the peripheries of society, the vineyard that the Lord has planted for the good of all, and to bring the new wine of the Lord’s mercy.”
After the midday prayer, the Pontiff recalled that yesterday in Milan, Father Arsenio da Trigolo, a Capuchin priest and founder of the Sisters of Mary Most Holy Consoler, was beatified.
“We praise the Lord for this humble servant of His, who even in adversity and trials – he had so many – never lost hope.”
Greeting an Italian group accompanied by the President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Francis said: “Dear brothers and sisters, I encourage you to continue joyfully your journey of faith, under the solicitous and tender gaze of our celestial Mother.”
“She is our refuge and our hope! Go forward,” he said.
As usual, Pope Francis concluded wishing everyone a good Sunday, a good lunch, and reminding them to pray for him.