God waits for us and never tires of forgiving us. This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ homily today at Casa Santa Marta.
The Holy Father reflected on the first reading from the prophet Hosea, which recalls God’s call to conversion and forgiveness for the people of Israel.
“Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words, and return to the LORD,” the reading states.
These words, the Pope said, are an exhortation from a Father to a son. “With these words alone, we can pass many hours of prayer.”
“It is the heart of our Father, God is like this: he does not tire, he does not tire!” the Pope said. “And for so many centuries He has done this, with so many apostasies, so many apostasies of the people. And He always returns, because our God is a God who waits. From that afternoon in the earthly Paradise, Adam left Paradise with a penalty and a promise. And He is faithful, the Lord is faithful to his promise, because he cannot deny himself. He is faithful. And so he waits for all of us, along the history. He is the God that waits for us, always.”
The Pope turned his thoughts towards the parable of the Prodigal son, where the father upon seeing his son returning, runs to him and embraces him. Comparing the first reading and the parable, the Holy Father said that God is the same way, inviting those present to see for themselves the tenderness of God.”
“God waits and also God forgives,” the Pope said. “He is the God of mercy: he does not tire of forgiving us. It is we who are tired of asking for forgiveness, but He never gets tired. Seventy times seven; go forward with forgiveness. And from a business standpoint, the balance is negative. He always loses: he loses in the balance of things, but conquers in love.”
In doing so, God is the first who fulfills the commandment of love. Concluding his homily, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to seek the forgiveness of God, who celebrates a feast when one returns to Him.
“He will make a feast for you,” he said. “His splendor shall be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.’ The life of every person, of every man, of every woman, who has the courage to draw close to the Lord, will find the joy of the feast of God. So, may this word help us to think of our Father, the Father that waits for us always, who always forgives us and who feasts when we return.” (J.A.E.)