Pope: What’s new and different about Christianity? Our God of mercy who takes no revenge

© Marko Vombergar | Aleteia | I.Media
Le pape François à Bogota, en Colombie.

Says there’s only one thing that can get in the way of his “tenacious and tender” will

Pope Francis says the novelty of Christianity is in revealing the kind of God, who, even when disappointed by our errors and sin, doesn’t betray his promise, and above all, never avenges himself.

The pope said this today before praying the midday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, offering his reflection on today’s Gospel reading, which relates the story of the vineyard tenants who kill the master’s servants, and eventually kill his son.

At the end of the parable, the Holy Father observes, the Gospel asks this question: “What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”

“This question highlights how God’s disappointment at the evil behavior of man does not have the last word,” Francis said. The story of his alliance with man, “like every love story, has positive moments, but is also marked by betrayal and rejection.”

God’s answer, though, points to what the pope called the “great novelty of Christianity — a God who, though disappointed by our error and sin, does not break his promise, does not give up, and above all, does not avenge himself.”

Our God is not a God who avenges himself, Francis stated. “God loves. He does not avenge himself. He awaits us to pardon us, to embrace us.”

According to the pope, there is “only one impediment to the tenacious and tender will of God” and that is our arrogance and presumption, that sometimes even becomes violence.

Like the tenants of the vineyard, we are called to respond to God’s invitation to conversion with good fruits, Francis said, and this “helps us to understand what is new and original in the Christian faith.”

The faith is “not just a sum total of precepts and moral norms, but is instead, and above all, an offer of love, which God, through Jesus, has made and continues to make to humanity. It is an invitation to enter into this love story …”

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