Pope Francis says God’s love for us is without limits whereas human beings often lack this generosity and have a tendency to weigh up situations. His words came during his homily at Mass on Tuesday (October 20th) celebrated in the Santa Marta residence.
Taking his inspiration from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, the Pope’s homily was a reflection on God’s boundless love to us, saying he doesn’t stand still but instead goes out to search for each one of us. He compared God’s abundant love for us to that of humans who, he noted, often lack this generosity and are too accustomed to weighing up and rationing when we decide to donate something that belongs to us. Our salvation, he explained, lies in this friendship between us and Him.
“Just as God gives us friendship in this case and all of us our salvation. He gives and what will he give us when we carry out a good deed: Will he give us a good measure, crammed to the top, filled to the brim, overflowing… but all this makes us think about abundance and this word 'abundance' is repeated three times in this reading. God gives in abundance up to the point as Paul wrote in his final summing up: 'But however much sin increased, grace was always greater.' It abounds everything. And this is God’s love for us, without limits. All of Himself.”
Pope Francis goes on to explain that God’s heart is not closed but always open and his love is boundless just like that of the father in the gospel who every day scans the horizon to see if his son has returned to him. And when we arrive, just like that son, he embraces and kisses us and celebrates our return.
“God is not a petty God, He doesn’t know pettiness. He gives everything. God is not somebody who stays still: He is watching and waiting for us to convert. God is a God who goes out, He goes out to search, for each one of us. But is this true? Every day He searches, he is searching for us. As he already has done and already said, in the Parable of the lost sheep or the lost coin: He is searching. He is always doing this.”
The pope reminded his listeners that there is more rejoicing in heaven for a single sinner who converts than for 100 people who remain good. At the same time, it is not easy for us humans to understand God’s love. It is thanks to a grace that we understand it, said the pope, recalling an 84 year old religious sister that he knew in his diocese who he said still goes out to visit ill people in hospital and speaks to them with a smile about God’s love. Pope Francis said this sister had received the grace to understand the mystery of God’s boundless love, a grace that so many do not receive.
“It’s true, we always tend to weigh up the situation or things with the measurements that we have and our measurements are small. For this reason, we’d do well to ask the Holy Spirit for this grace, pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace to draw closer, at least a little bit, in order to understand this love and have the desire to be embraced and kissed with that boundless love.”