God is a father who never disowns his children, Pope affirms

Vatican City, Feb 4, 2014 / 12:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In his daily Mass, Pope Francis compared the love of God to the two fathers in the day's readings, saying that God is a parent who “weeps” for his children and desires them to be close to him.

“This is the heart of a father, who never disowns his own son,” the Pope said in his Feb. 4 Mass, referring to the Old Testament account of David's sadness at hearing of the death of his son.

Using this image of David in the first reading, taken from the Second Book of Samuel, the Pope addressed those gathered in the chapel of the Vatican's Saint Martha guesthouse, highlighting David’s grief at the death of his son, Absalom, despite the fact that he betrayed his father.

David had won the battle, but he was not interested in the victory, only his son, the pontiff explained, emphasizing that although David was a king, he was also a father, which is why he went to an upper room and wept when he heard of Absalom's death.

While “he was walking away, he was saying: ‘My son, Absalom. My son! My son, Absalom! How I wish I had died rather than you!” the Pope recalled, noting that “David does not disown his fatherhood,” but instead “he weeps.”

“David weeps twice for his children: on this occasion and another time when the son from his adultery was about to die,” the Pope observed, adding that “on that occasion too, he fasted and did penance in order to save the life of the son. He was a father!”

Turning to the day’s Gospel reading, taken from Mark, the pontiff drew attention to Jairus, who approaches Jesus in the synagogue and asks him to heal his daughter.

He is not afraid to beg at Jesus' feet, and to say “My little daughter is dying, please come and lay your hands on her so she can be saved and live,” the Pope noted, highlighting how he doesn’t care what others say, because he is a father.

Referring to both David and Jairus, Pope Francis expressed that “For them, the most important thing is their son, their daughter! There is nothing else. This is the only important thing!”

Calling to mind the words of the Creed when we proclaim that “I believe in God the Father,” the Pope observed that “this makes us think about the fatherhood of God,” and that “God is like this with us!”

Although some might say that God is not like this, and does not weep, the Pope stated that “yes, he does!” and recalled “how he wept when looking at Jerusalem,” saying “’Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How many times have I wished to gather your children, like the hen who gathers her chicks under her wings?’”

“God weeps! Jesus has wept for us! And that weeping of Jesus is exactly that of a Father who weeps, who wants everybody with him.”

Highlighting how “our Father responds” to us even in our difficulties, the pontiff spoke of Abraham and Isaac when they were carrying the wood up the mountain for the sacrifice.

“Isaac was not stupid,” the Pope explained, “he realized that he was carrying the wood, the fire, but not the sheep for the sacrifice. He was stricken with anguish in his heart! And what does he say? ‘Father!’ And immediately the father replies “Here I am my son!’”

The Pope then observed that we see the same thing with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, who prays “with that anguish in his heart: My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by!’”

Recalling how God sent angels to minister to and comfort Jesus, the Pope repeated that “That’s how our Father is: He is a Father and a Father like this!”

“Our fatherhood,” that of both physical fathers as well as the spiritual fatherhood of bishops and priests “must be like this,” explained the pontiff, adding that “the Father has” a type of “anointing that comes from the son: he can’t understand himself without his child!”

For this reason,  he noted, a father “needs his child, he is waiting for him, he loves him, he looks for him, he forgives him, he wants him close to him, just as close as the hen who wants her chicks.”

Concluding his homily, the Pope encouraged those present to continue meditating on the images of David and Jairus, saying “with these two icons let’s say: ‘I believe in God the Father.’”

“To be able to say to God ‘Father’ with our hearts is a grace of the Holy Spirit,” reflected the pontiff, “let’s ask him for this.”

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