Beware of following fantasies and false idols, for only God loves us like a father, says pope.
VATICAN CITY — Today Pope Francis issued a warning about handing our minds and hearts over to idols that ultimately enslave us, saying God “weeps for us” when we distance ourselves from his love.
The Holy Father suggested we ask: “Does God weep for me? Is God disappointed in me?”
His message came this morning at Holy Mass in the chapel of his residence at Santa Marta, as the Church continues the Season of Lent.
Commenting on the First Letter from the Book of Exodus, the Holy Father focused on God’s love for His people, despite their infidelity. Even today, he said, it is good for us to ask whether we distance ourselves from the Lord to follow after idols and worldliness.
Pope Francis took his cue from the Book of Exodus to reflect on the “dreams and disappointments of God.”
The people, he said, are “God’s dream. He dreamed of them because he loved them.” But the people betrayed the Father’s dreams and so God “began to be disappointed,” asking Moses to come down from the mountain he had ascended to receive the Law.
The people “did not have the patience to wait for God” for even 40 days. They had fashioned for themselves a golden calf. A god to “entertain themselves.” And “they forgot God who saved them.”
The human heart: tempted to infidelity
The prophet Baruch, Pope Francis said, “had a good expression for this people: ‘You have forgotten the One who reared you.’”
“To forget the God who made us, who raised us, and who accompanies us in our lives: this is the disappointment of God. And many times in the Gospel Jesus speaks in parables about that man who builds a vineyard, which then fails, because the workers want to take it for themselves. In the human heart there is always this restlessness! It is not satisfied with God, with faithful love. The human heart always tends towards infidelity. This is a temptation.”
God, therefore, “through a prophet, rebukes this people,” which “is inconstant, doesn’t know how to wait, and has become depraved.” They go astray from the true God and seek another god.
“The disappointment of God is the infidelity of the people… And we are God’s people. We know well what our hearts are like, and every day we must take up again the path so as not to slide slowly towards idols, fantasies, worldliness, and infidelity. I think it would do us good today to reflect on the disappointed Lord: ‘Tell me, Lord, are you disappointed in me?’ In something, yes, surely. But reflect, and ask yourself this question.”
He’s waiting for you
God, Pope Francis said, “has a tender heart, the heart of a father.” He recalled when Jesus wept “over Jerusalem.” Let us ask ourselves, he said, if “God weeps for me,” if “He is disappointed in me,” and if “I have distanced myself from the Lord.”
The pope asked aloud: “How many idols do I have, which I am unable to get rid of, which enslave me? The idolatry that we have within us… And God weeps for me.”
Pope Francis concluded: “Let us reflect today on this disappointment of God, who created us for love, whilst we go looking for love and wellbeing elsewhere, and not in His love. We distance ourselves from this God who raised us. This is a thought for Lent. It will do us good. Do this small examination of conscience daily: ‘Lord, you who have so many dreams for me, I know that I have gone away from you, but tell me where and how to return….’ The surprise will be that He ever awaits us, like the father of the prodigal son who saw him from afar, because he was waiting for him.”