On Wednesday, during his weekly traditional Angelus address, Pope Francis introduced a new series of catechesis dedicated to mercy for his general audiences, telling the pilgrims that Jesus is bigger, greater and more powerful than sin, the love and forgiveness of God can’t be overcome by anything, including our sin, explaining that Jesus gives us complete freedom and forgiveness.
He said he made the decision to begin the new series of Catechesis dedicated to mercy so that we can “learn mercy by listening to what God himself teaches us with his word.”
Reflecting on the 1st reading of the day from Exodus, the Pope pointed to how God told Moses that he is “the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
The description of God as being “steadfast in love and faithfulness” is beautiful, he said, adding that this description “says everything. Because God is great and powerful, but this greatness and power unfold in loving us, so little, so incapable.”
Pope Francis said that when referring to God, the word “mercy” evokes an attitude of tenderness, much like the kind a mother shows toward her children.
“The image is that of a God who is moved and softens for us like a mother when she takes her child in her arms, desiring only to love, protect, help and is ready to give everything, even herself. A love, then, that can be defined in a good way as ‘visceral,’” he said.
He referred to the parable of the Prodigal Son in the Bible. A young man who took half his dad’s money and ran away, then returned home and his father saw his son and was moved with compassion.
Once the younger son came back, he was still a great way off, his father saw him, had compassion on him, and ran, fell on his neck, and kissed him.” That is how our heavenly Father sees us, welcomes us, forgives us and loves us even after we’ve really messed up, and then turn back to Him! He is moved with compassion and welcomes us with open arms. Pope Francis said, “his father didn’t even allow him to finish his confession – it’s like he covered his mouth.”
Then the father called the older son and invited him in to the celebration. Even though the older son is bitter, the father “tries to open his heart to love, because no one is excluded from the feast of mercy,” the Pope observed.
“God is totally and always reliable. He is a solid and stable presence. This is the certainty of our faith.” he added.
The Holy Father concluded his address by saying a special prayer that during the Jubilee of Mercy, all would commend themselves wholly to God, “and experience the joy of being loved by this God who is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and great in love and faithfulness.”
After welcoming pilgrims present from different countries around the world, the Pope said a special prayer for the victims of yesterday’s devastating attack in Istanbul,he called on the faithful to pray with the victims and implored that the merciful God “give eternal peace to the deceased, comfort to the families, firm solidarity to society as a whole,” and that he “convert the hearts of the violent.”
Ten people have died and some 15 others injured when a Syrian suicide bomber blew himself up shortly after 10 a.m in the heart of Istanbul’s central tourist on Tuesday. The famous ISIS terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.