Restoration

Restoration

Posted April 13, 2016 in The Pope's Corner:
The Patience of God

by Pope Francis.

What a beautiful truth of faith this is for our lives: the mercy of God! God’s love for us is so great, so deep. It is an unfailing love, one that always takes us by the hand and supports us, lifts us up, and leads us on.

In the Gospel of John (20:19-28), the apostle Thomas personally experiences this mercy of God, which has a concrete face: the face of Jesus, the risen Jesus.

Thomas does not believe it when the other apostles tell him, "We have seen the Lord." It isn’t enough for him that Jesus had foretold it, promised it: On the third day I will rise (several Scriptural sources).

He wants to see; he wants to put his hand in the place of the nails and in Jesus’ side.

And how does Jesus react? With patience. Jesus does not abandon Thomas in his stubborn unbelief; he gives him a week’s time. He does not close the door; he waits.

And Thomas acknowledges his own poverty, his little faith: My Lord and my God! (John 20:28).

With this simple yet faith-filled invocation, he responds to Jesus’ patience. He lets himself be enveloped by divine mercy. He sees it before his eyes, in the wounds of Christ’s hands and feet and in his open side, and he discovers trust. He is a new man, no longer an unbeliever but a believer.

Let us also remember Peter: three times he denied Jesus, precisely when he should have been closest to him. And when he hits rock bottom, he meets the gaze of Jesus who patiently, wordlessly, says to him, "Peter, don’t be afraid of your weakness. Trust in me."

Peter understands. He feels the loving gaze of Jesus, and he weeps.

How beautiful is this gaze of Jesus—how much tenderness is there! Brothers and sisters, let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God.

Let us think, too, of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus: their sad faces, their barren journey, their despair.

But Jesus does not abandon them: he walks beside them and not only that! Patiently he explains the Scriptures, which spoke of him, and he stays to share a meal with them.

This is God’s way of doing things: he is not impatient like us who often want everything all at once, even in our dealings with other people.

God is patient with us because he loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, and to inspire confidence. They do not give up, they do not burn bridges; they are able to forgive.

Let us remember this in our lives as Christians: God always waits for us, even when we have left him behind! He is never far from us, and if we return to him, he is ready to embrace us… .

God is indeed waiting for you; he asks of you only the courage to go to him.

How many times in my pastoral ministry have I heard it said, "Father, I have many sins"? And I have always pleaded, "Don’t be afraid. Go to him. He is waiting for you. He will take care of everything."

We hear many offers from the world around us, but let us take up God’s offer instead. His is a caress of love. For God, we are not numbers; we are each important. Indeed we are the most important thing to him. Even if we are sinners, we are what is closest to his heart.

— Excerpted from the homily for the Mass for the Possession of the Chair of the Bishop of Rome, April 7, 2013

 

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