Sinners are closest to the heart of God, Pope reflects

Rome, Italy, Oct 22, 2013 / 09:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his daily Mass homily Pope Francis stressed that Jesus came to save sinners, emphasizing also the importance of knowing God on more than an intellectual level.

“I have come to heal, to save,” said the Pope, quoting the words of Jesus from the Gospel.

The Holy Father directed his Oct. 22 homily to those gathered at the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, where he resides.

Pope Francis began his reflections by echoing the words of St. Paul to the Romans in the day’s first reading, stating that we can only enter into the mystery of God by talking to him on our knees, stressing that intelligence alone is not enough.

“You need contemplation, intelligence, heart, knees praying… all together: this is how we enter into the mystery.”

Another important aspect needed in our relationship with God is closeness, or proximity, the Pope reflected, noting that “one man created sin, and one man saved us.”

The pontiff then recalled how close God has been to man throughout all of history, stressing that he has walked with his people since the very first moment when he chose Abraham to be the father of all humanity.

Jesus, urged the Pope, who had the job of a craftsman and who used his hands in every piece of work, is like a nurse in a hospital who heals the wounds of those who come in, one at a time.

Just like this nurse, Pope Francis stressed that God is also involved in our lives, “meddling” in our miseries and getting close enough to heal our wounds with his very hands, which he became man in order to do.

 Because of this, noted the Pope, we know that God does not simply save us by decree, but “He saves us with tenderness and with caresses. He saves us with His life for us.”

Pope Francis then spoke of the importance of “abundance” in our spiritual lives, urging that where sin abounds, grace also abounds.

Each of us knows our own miseries, urged the Pope, however the Lord challenges us to defeat and heal them as Jesus did through the superabundance of grace and love that he offers.

Although some do not want to admit it, the pontiff urged that those who are closest to Jesus’ heart are sinners, because they are the ones that he seeks, calls and heals.

The Pope concluded his homily by turning his reflections to the Saints, emphasizing that some of them say distrust of God is the ugliest sin, asking those present “how can we be wary of a God who is so close, so good, who prefers the sinful heart?”

This mystery, he urged, is difficult to understand through intelligence, and requires "contemplation, proximity and abundance” because the Lord "always wins with the superabundance of his grace, with His tenderness,” and with “His wealth of mercy."

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