“Ours is not an absent God, sequestered in a very distant heaven. Instead, He is a God “passionate” for man, so tenderly loving that He is incapable of separating Himself from him. Also in today’s General Audience, April 26, 2017, Pope Francis put the accent on the message of hope contained in the Gospel. He did so, evoking the Christian symbol of the anchor, which represents the indissoluble bond between us and Heaven.
His reflection began with the last words of Saint Matthew’s Gospel: “I will be with you always, to the close of the age,” which “recall the prophetic proclamation we find at the beginning, that is, “He will be given the name Emmanuel, which means God with us.” Francis pointed out that the whole Gospel is enclosed in these two quotations.
They demonstrate God’s closeness to our human affairs. Francis reflected: “We humans are clever in cutting bonds and bridges. He, instead, does not; if our heart becomes cold, His remains incandescent. Our God accompanies us always even if, unfortunately, we were to forget Him. On the ridge that divides incredulity from faith, the discovery is decisive of being loved and accompanied by our Father, of not being left alone by Him,” he continued.
The Father’s company persists throughout our “pilgrimage,” added the Pontiff, recalling the figure of Abraham who obeyed the divine command “Go from your country.” A journey that we Christians undertake with Jesus beside us, because He assures us that He “not only waits for us at the end of our long journey, but that He accompanies us in every one of our days.”
In fact, “the heavens will pass away, the earth will pass away, human hopes will be cancelled, but the Word of God is greater than all and will not pass away,” said the Holy Father. The Pope’s invitation, therefore, is to remember that “God will surely provide for all our needs; He will not abandon us in the time of trial and darkness,” – a certainty that we call “Providence.”
See then why the Pope brought to mind the Christian symbol of the anchor. “It expresses that our hope is not vague; it is not confused with the changing sentiments of one who wants to improve the things of this world in an unrealistic way, relying only on his will power,” he affirmed. This symbol “is an instrument for navigators who throw it on the beach and grip the rope to bring the boat to the shore,” and therefore “our faith is the anchor in heaven, faith brings us close to heaven,’ he added.
Finally, the Pontiff recalled the old Latin adage “Homo viator, spe erectus,” which means that “man is a wayfarer, supported by faith.” All that remains then is to trust “that the good God is already at work to bring about what humanly seems impossible, because the anchor is on heaven’s beach.” After all, “there is no part of the world that escapes the victory of the Risen Christ, the victory of love,” concluded the Pope.