Pope Francis: Divine mercy is foundation of Christian hope

Source: VIS/Vatican Radio

Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Christian hope today, in his General Audience with pilgrims gathered in the Pope Paul VI Hall - away from 36C temperatures outside.

God’s mercy and forgiveness are the the driving force or the 'motor' of Christian hope, the Holy Father said. Reflecting on the passage in Luke’s Gospel (Lk 7:44-50) in which Jesus forgives the sins of the woman who bathed his feet with her tears and a precious ointment, Pope Francis said Jesus’ merciful action causes scandal, because it overturns the dominant attitude of his time. Jesus, he said, embraced sinners and the “untouchables” of his day, rather than rejecting them as was commonplace.

“Jesus, faced with human pain, feels mercy; Jesus’ heart is merciful. Jesus feels compassion. Literally: Jesus feels a tremor within.”

"There were some scribes, those who believed they were perfect," the Pope said. "And I think about so many Catholics who think they are perfect and scorn others. This is sad."

The Pope said Jesus’ astonishing attitude to those in desperate situations, even those who have made many mistakes in life, marks our Christian identity with the stamp of mercy. And this gives a sure foundation to our hope.

Pope Francis then invited all present to reflect on the cost of sin. “Jesus does not go to the cross because He heals the sick, preaches charity, or proclaims the beatitudes. The Son of God goes to the cross above all because He forgives sins, and because He wants the total and definitive liberation of the human heart.”

Finally, Pope Francis said God’s mercy both transforms us and renews our hope. “We are all poor sinners, in need of the mercy of God Who has the strength to transform us and to restore our hope every day,” he said.

After his catecheses The Holy Father said he was “deeply saddened by the massacre, which took place last Sunday in Nigeria inside a church, where innocent people were killed.”

At least 13 people were killed and 26 others were wounded when gunmen opened fire on worshippers at St Philip’s Catholic Church in Ozubulu near the city of Onitsha.

The Pope also decried an incident which occurred today in the Central African Republic. “And, unfortunately, news has arrived this morning of violent homicides in the Central African Republic against the Christian community.. I hope that all forms of hatred and violence cease, and may such shameful crimes not be repeated, especially those perpetrated in places of worship, where the faithful gather to pray.”

After a brief pause, the Holy Father invited all present to think about “our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and in the Central African Republic” and to pray for them.

He then led the crowd in the recitation of the Hail Mary.

See also: ICN 7 August 2017 Nigeria: Pope sends condolences after attack on church www.indcatholicnews.com/news/33142

Tags: Central African Republic, Pope Francis, General Audience, Mercy, church attacks, Nigeria,

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