“It is precisely he who was sent by the Father to save us, and he did it with love, giving his life for me. There is no greater love than to give than one's life for another; for example, a mother’s love, a mother who gives her life for her child, always accompanying him or her in life, in hard times and this is still minor. . . It is a love close to us; the love of Jesus is not an abstract love; it is a me-to-you love, me-to-you, each of us, with name and surname.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated Mass today at Casa Santa Marta. Citing the First Reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Rom 8:31b-39), he said in his homily that the love Jesus has for us "cannot be described". He is willing to give his life for us, and his tenderness towards sinners is always available.
The pontiff noted that the Apostle to the Gentiles might seem “a bit haughty” or “too sure of himself” when he says that “anguish, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, peril, the sword” will succeed in separating us from “Christ’s love”.
However, Francis goes on to say citing Saint Paul that "we are more than winners” with the Lord’s love. Saint Paul was so because from the moment “the Lord called him on the road to Damascus, he began to understand the mystery of Christ". He “had fallen in love with Christ”, taken by a strong and great love, not something from a “soap opera”. Such a love is serious to the extent that he felt that “the Lord always accompanied him in good times and bad times.”
"He felt this with love. And I wonder: Do I love the Lord like this? When bad times come, how many times one feels the desire to say ‘The Lord has abandoned me; he no longer loves me’, and thus comes a desire to leave the Lord. But Paul was sure that the Lord never abandons [us]. He understood Christ’s love in his own life. This is the path that makes us see Paul: the path of love, always, in good and bad times, always, forward. This is Paul’s greatness.”
Christ’s love “cannot be described"; it is something great. “It is precisely he who was sent by the Father to save us, and he did it with love, giving his life for me. There is no greater love than to give one's life for another; for example, a mother’s love, a mother who gives her life for her child, always accompanying him or her in life, in hard moments and this is still minor. . . It is a love close to us; the love of Jesus is not an abstract love; it is a me-to-you love, me-to-you, each of us, with name and surname.”
In today's Gospel of Luke (Lk 13.31-35), the Pope highlighted “something of the concrete love of Jesus". Speaking about Jerusalem, Jesus mentioned the times when he tried to gather his children, "like a hen gathers her brood under her wings", but was prevented. So he “wept”.
“Christ’s love drove him to weep, to weep for each of us. What tenderness in such an expression! Jesus could have condemned Jerusalem, say horrible things . . . [Instead] he lamented that it did not let itself be loved like the hen’s chicks. This is God’s tender love in Jesus, which is what Paul had understood. If we cannot feel or understand God’s tender love in Jesus for each of us, then we will never, ever, be able to understand Christ’s love.”
This kind of “love is always waiting, patiently, like the love he holds playing his last card with Judas: ‘Friend’, [he said,] offering him a way out, until the end. He loves even the worst sinners with such tenderness, up to the end. I don’t know if we can think about Jesus being so loving – Jesus who weeps, as he wept before the tomb of Lazarus, as he wept here looking at Jerusalem.”
Lastly, the Holy Father said we should ask themselves if Jesus weeps for us, he who has given us "many things" whilst we often choose to go along “another path”. God’s love "becomes a tear, turns into weeping, tears of tenderness in Jesus”. For this reason, Saint Paul "fell in love with Christ and nothing could separate him from Him.”