God’s love is good beyond comprehension: it repairs the damage caused by our sins and errors; it makes whole our personal stories after they have been broken by sin; it heals all of history. This was the focus of Pope Francis in his homily at Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.
The Holy Father concentrated his comments on the Gospel reading of the day, which was taken from the Gospel according to St Mark (1:14-20), and which tells of Christ’s calling of the disciples, Andrew, Simon (who would be called Peter), James and John.
“It seems [in this passage] that Simon, Andrew , James and John are chosen once-and-for-all: [and] yes , they were chosen! At this moment [in the story], however, they had not been faithful to the last. After being chosen, they went on to make mistakes. They proposed un-Christian things to the Lord. They denied the Lord – Peter most glaringly, and the others out of fear: they were afraid and they ran away. They abandoned the Lord. The Lord prepares – and then, after the Resurrection – the Lord needed to continue this journey of preparation, up until the day of Pentecost. Even after Pentecost, some of [the disciples] – Peter, for example – made mistakes, and Paul had to correct him – but the Lord prepares .”
Pope Francis went on to explain that the Lord prepares His faithful over the course of generations:
“When things are not going well, He gets Himself involved in history, he sorts the situation, and goes forward with us. Think of the genealogy of Jesus Christ , of that list: this one begets that one, and that one begets this one, and so on… In that story there are men and women who are sinners. How did the Lord [work it all out]? He stepped in, He straightened the path, He put things right. Think of the great David, a great sinner , and then a great saint. The Lord knows. When the Lord tells us, ‘With eternal love, I have loved you,’ He is referring to this. The Lord has been thinking of us for many generations – of each and every one of us.”
Pope Francis went on to say that the Lord awaits us in history and lovingly accompanies us through history. He said that this is the love of God, who “loves us forever, and never forsake us.” We pray to the Lord, that we might know this tenderness of His heart.”This, he notes, is “an act of faith,” – it is not easy to believe this:
“Because our rationalism says, ‘How is it that the Lord, who has so many people to think about, should think of me?’ However, he has really prepared the way for me. With our mothers , our grandmothers , our fathers , our grandparents and great-grandparents … That’s what the Lord does. This is His love: real, eternal, and also ‘customized’ [It. artigianale]. We pray, asking for the grace to understand the love of God, but God’s love can never be fully grasped! We can feel it, we [can even] weep for it, but [in this life] it cannot be understood. This also tells us how great this love is. The Lord has been preparing us for some time, He walks with us, preparing others. He is always with us! Let us ask for the grace heartily to understand this great love.”