By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God loves his children so much that he does not condemn them — he weeps when they stray, commit evil or refuse his love, Pope Francis said at morning Mass.
God will wait until the final moments of a sinner’s life, like he did for the good thief on the cross, who mocked and derided Christ, but then repented and was saved, the pope said in his homily Oct. 29 during the Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
"The worst person, the worst blasphemer is loved by God with a fatherly tenderness," he said.
The pope looked at the day’s reading from the Gospel of St. Luke, in which Jesus laments the evil ways of Jerusalem, "you who kill the prophets," and mourns his loving attempts "as a hen gathers her brood under her wings" to gather and protect such an unwilling people.
But no matter how reluctant or defiant people are, God "waits, he does not condemn, he weeps. Why? Because he loves," the pope said.
"In those tears is all of God’s love. God cries for me when I stray, God cries for each one of us. God cries for the evil ones, who do so many terrible things, hurt humanity so much," he said.
In fact, God — who is all powerful — is helpless in that one thing: "He cannot tear himself away from us," the pope said; he is incapable of not loving.
It also is a love that cannot be explained, he said, because he still offers his love and gift of salvation even to those, who in their free will, refuse him and choose narcissism, pride and sin instead.
Those who unite themselves with Christ are victorious — not because the battle against evil is somehow over, but because there is nothing and no one who can take away God’s love, Pope Francis said.
"It’s not that we are victorious over our enemies, over sin. No. We are so bound to God’s love that no person, no power, no thing will be able to eliminate this love," he said.