The first hearing of a cycle of catechesis on the Jubilee of Mercy ended with an appeal. In fact, Pope Francis, after having spoken and analyzed how the topic of the Jubilee is treated in many biblical passages, has addressed a thought to the people who died in the terrorist attack which took place yesterday in Turkey. “Before concluding our meeting, where we reflected together on God’s mercy – he said at the end of the general audience in the Vatican -, I invite you to pray for the victims of the attack which took place yesterday in Istanbul. Let the Lord, the Merciful, give eternal peace to those who died, comfort to their families, solidary firmness to the entire society, and convert the hearts of the violent men”.
Today Bergoglio has stressed that God’s mercy recalls the “tenderness” of a mother for her Son and as a “a father who never closes up in resentment because of the abandonment of a child.””God – the Pope said – presents Himself as merciful”. This is “his face and his heart” and “revealing himself to Moses, he defines himself this way, ‘merciful and gracious, slow in anger and rich in love and also in other texts we can find this formula with some variation but there is always the insistence on the mercy and love of God who never gets tired of forgiveness”.
Pope Bergoglio has analyzed these words God uses in defining himself ”one by one”: “merciful”, “compassionate”, “slow at anger”, “great in love and fidelity”. “Merciful – he explained – brings to mind an attitude of tenderness, as that of a mother towards her son; the Hebrew word, in fact, makes us think about the viscera or even about the womb, therefore the image it suggests is that of a God who is moved and who becomes tender for us as a mother when she takes her child into her arms, eager only to love, protect, help, give everything, even herself, this is the image it suggests. It is a love that can be defined as ‘visceral’, in the best sense of the word”.
Moreover, “God is merciful, in the sense that He gives grace, has compassion in his greatness, cares about who is weak and poor, always ready to receive, to understand, to forgive and like the father from the parable contained in the Gospel of Luke, a father who never closes in resentment because his child abandoned Him, but continues to wait”. After having analyzed the attitude of the Father in the parable of the prodigal son, the Pope reflected on the expression “slow at anger” which, he said, is “literally a ‘long breath’, that is, with the breadth of forbearance”: “God knows how to wait, his timing is not the same of the impatience of men, as a good sower who gives time for the seed to grow despite the darnel”.
Lastly, the Pope has analyzed the fact that “God proclaims that he is great in love and fidelity” and explained that God is not the “soap opera kind of love”. God reveals himself to Moses with an “infinite loyalty”, “his fidelity will never be lacking”, he is “the guardian”, he will “not totter”. Then Pope Bergoglio quoted Saint Paul who “says a great thing: if you are not faithful to God, He will remain faithful because he cannot deny himself, loyalty in mercy is the very essence of God” , “this is the reason why God is always reliable, a solid and stable presence, and this – he concluded – is the certainty of our faith.”