In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said that like David, God weeps for his children even if they are rebellious against him.
The Holy Father was reflecting on today’s readings which presented the example of two fathers: David and Jairus, the head of the synagogue.
In the first reading, David weeps bitterly upon hearing the news of the death of his son Absalom. Although many were waiting for news of his army’s victory of Absalom, David was only interested in the fate of his son.
Upon hearing the news, the reading states, David went to the city gates and cried, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!”
“This is the heart of a father, that never rejects his son. ‘He is a robber. He is a enemy. But he is my son!,’” the Pope said. “And he does not reject his paternity: he cries… David cries two times for a son: this time and the other [time] when the son of adultery was about to die. Even that time he fasted, did penance to save the life of his son. He was a father!”
Recalling the Gospel of the day, the Holy Father spoke of Jairus, the head of the synagogue who was unashamed in prostrating himself before Jesus and asking him to heal his daughter. The only important thing for Jairus and David, the Pope said, was their children and nothing else.
“It makes us think of the first thing we say to God, in the Creed: ‘I believe in God the Father.’ It makes us think of the paternity of God,” he said. “But God is like that. God is like that with us! ‘But, Father, God does not cry!’ How can he not! Let us remember Jesus, when he cried looking at Jerusalem. ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How many times I wanted to gather your children as a hen gathers its chicks under its wing.’ God cries! Jesus has cried for us! And that cry of Jesus is that same figure of the cry of the Father, who wants everyone with him.”
Continuing his homily, the Holy Father said that this love of the father for his children is exemplified in many instances, one of which is Christ in the Mount of Olives. Jesus, who is in anguish, asks God “if it is possible, let this cup pass by me!” Shortly, after the angels come to comfort and strengthen him. “That is how our God is: He is a Father!” the Pope exclaimed. “A Father like that!”
The Pope went on to say that our paternity, whether it be the head of a family or the spiritual paternity of priests and bishops, should be the same. “The Father has an anointing that comes from the son: he cannot understand himself without his son! This is why he needs the son. He awaits him, he loves him, he looks for him, he forgives him, he wants him close, as close as a hen wants its chicks.”
Concluding his homily, the Pope invited the faithful to have the image of David and Jairus in mind.
“Their children were at risk: the son and the daughter. And with these two icons let us say: ‘I believe in God the Father…” And let us ask the Holy Spirit – because it is only Him, the Holy Spirit – to teach us to say ‘Abba, Father!’ It is a grace! To be able to say to God ‘Father!’ with the heart; it is a grace of the Holy Spirit. Ask for it to Him,” he said. (J.A.E.)