VATICAN CITY — God’s love is an ocean of infinite mercy and forgiveness, in which even our worst sins can be completely washed away, Pope Francis said today.
Concluding his catecheses on mercy in the Old Testament (part one in his series for the Holy Year), the pope commented on Psalm 51, called the Miserere.
“This psalm refers to King David and his sin with Bathsheba,” Pope Francis told thousands of pilgrims gathered in a sunny St. Peter’s Square for the Wednesday audience in Easter Week. “What he did wasn’t a small sin, a little lie: he committed adultery and murder!”
But with the prophet Nathan’s help, David “saw the error of his ways, and, despite being king, humbled himself without fear of confessing his guilt and showing his misery to the Lord.”
David’s heartfelt plea for mercy shows us “the only thing we really need in our lives is to be forgiven,” Pope Francis said. “We are all sinners,” but “God is greater than our sin. Let us not forget this: God is greater than our sin.”
The pope continued: “Divine forgiveness is supremely effective, because it creates what it says. It does not conceal sin, but destroys and wipes it out. But it wipes it out right at the root, not like they do at the cleaners, when we bring in a garment and they wipe off the stain. No! God wipes out our sin right at the root, everything!”
And if you fall, God is always there to help you up again, he added. “But Father, I am weak, I fall, and fall, and fall.” But if you fall, get up! Get up! When a child falls, what does he do? He raises his hand to his mother and father so that they pick him up. Let us do the same. If you fall through weakness into sin, raise your hand. The Lord will take it and help you to get up.”
God’s forgiveness the greatest sign of his mercy, Pope Francis said. And it is a gift that every forgiven sinner is called to share, especially the those the Lord has placed in our lives: our family, colleagues, fellow parishioners and friends.
“It is beautiful to be forgiven,” Pope Francis concluded, “but you too, if you want to be forgiven, in turn, forgive. Forgive!”
To read a full translation of Pope Francis’ catechesis, click here.
Diane Montagnais Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.