“Even in the bad situations of life, God is waiting for me, God wants to embrace me, God is waiting for me.”
Pope Francis reminded the faithful of this during his weekly General Audience this morning in St. Peter’s Square, as he continued his catechesis for the Holy Year of Mercy, turning to Jesus’ parable of the merciful father who welcomes back his prodigal son with unconditional love and forgiveness.
The Pope recalled that the only thing that the father cares about is that this child is before him, safe and sound, and this makes him happy and ready to celebrate.
“What beautiful tenderness of the father! The father’s mercy is overflowing, unconditional, and manifests itself even before the child speaks.”
The son’s sinfulness and unworthiness, Francis explained, dissolve in front of the father’s forgiveness. The father’s embrace and kiss make him understand that he was always considered his child, in spite of everything.
Nothing can rob us of being God’s child
“It is important this teaching of Jesus: our condition as children of God is the fruit of the love of the heart of the Father; It does not depend on our merits or by our actions, and then no one can take that away, not even the devil! No one can take away from this dignity.”
This word of Jesus, the Pope said, encourages us to never despair.
“I think of the mothers and fathers apprehensive when they see their children get away taking dangerous roads. I think the parish priests and catechists who sometimes wonder if their work was in vain. But I also think of those who are in prison, and he feels that his life is over; to those who have made wrong choices and fail to look to the future; to all those who hunger mercy and forgiveness and believe they do not deserve it.”
Regardless of the circumstances in which one finds oneself, Francis stressed, God never stops loving and is always waiting to welcome and embrace His children.
“In any situation in life,” Francis continued, “I must not forget that I’ll never stop being a child of God, being the son of a Father who loves me and waits for my return.”
Jesus’ reverse logic
The youngest son thought he deserved punishment because of his sins, the eldest son expected a reward for his services. Though they are different, they think both according to a logic alien to Jesus, if you do well you get a prize if you do bad you get punished.
“This is not the logic of Jesus, it is not!” the Pope stressed.
Children can decide whether or not to join in the father’s joy, Francis said, noting this Gospel teaches us that we all need to enter the house of the Father and share in his joy.
Pope Francis concluded, praying, let us open our hearts, to be “merciful as the Father!”