"Come, come: show me your wounds. I want to heal them."
The tenderness of God, as his defining trait, was at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily this morning at the Casa Santa Marta. The theme was taken from the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah and the psalm where God says of himself: “… his tenderness expands over all creatures.”
The image presented by Isaiah is that of a God who speaks to us as a father with his child, imitating his voice to make it as similar as possible to his. And first of all he reassures him by caressing him: “Do not be afraid, I will come to your aid.”
“It seems that our God wants to sing us a lullaby. Our God is gifted at this. His tenderness is this: he is a father and a mother. Many times he said: ‘But if a mother forgets her son, I will not forget you. He carries us in his deep within. He is the God who with this dialogue makes himself small to make us understand, to make us trust in him and we can tell him with the courage of Paul who changes the word and says: ‘Abba Father.’ Father … It’s the tenderness of God.”
The great that becomes small and the small that is great
It is true, said Pope Francis, sometimes God raps us over the knuckles. He is great, but with his tenderness he approaches us and saves us. And this is a mystery and one of the most beautiful things:
“He is the great God who makes himself small and in his smallness he does not stop being great. And in this great dialectic he is small: there is the tenderness of God. The great that makes himself small and the small that is great. Christmas helps us to understand this: in that manger … the little God. A phrase from St. Thomas comes to mind in the first part of the Summa [Theologica]. Wanting to explain this: ‘What is divine? What is the most divine thing?’ He says … do not be frightened of big things, but keep small things in mind. This is divine, both together.”
But where, in particular, is the tenderness of God shown?
God not only helps us, but he also makes us promises of joy, of a great harvest, to help us move forward. God, repeated Pope Francis, is not just father but a Dad:
“Am I able to speak with the Lord like this or am I afraid? Everyone answers. But someone can say, he can ask: ‘But what is the theological place of God’s tenderness? Where can the tenderness of God be found? What is the place where God’s tenderness is best manifested?’ The wounds. My wounds, your sores, when you meet my wound with his wound. We have been healed in the wounds.”
And the pope recalled the parable of the Good Samaritan: there, someone bent over the man who had stumbled upon brigands and helped him by cleaning his wounds and paying for his recovery. Here is “the theological place of God’s tenderness: our wounds.” And the pope concludes by exhorting us to think about the Lord’s invitation during the day: “Come, come: show me your wounds. I want to heal them.”
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