Pope Francis urged the faithful on Wednesday to make place in their lives for God’s message of Salvation with faith and without prejudice.
Speaking to the pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience, the Pope reflected on the Gospel reading of the day which speaks of God’s infinite mercy.
Taking his cue from St Matthew’s Gospel account of how John the Baptist – who was imprisoned both in a cell and in the darkness of a heart that failed to understand Jesus’ humble style – the Pope said John was upset because his expectations of Jesus’ ministry were not what he anticipated.
God – Francis said – did not send his Son to punish sinners and crush the wicked. Rather he came to invite them to conversion.
And pointing out that Jesus is the concrete instrument of the Father’s mercy that brings consolation and salvation to all, the Pope urged those present not to create false images of the Messiah for their own use and consumption.
When we construct our own image of God – he explained – this prevents us from experiencing his real presence among us.
“Some reduce Him to a false idol using his name to justify their interests, and even hatred and violence” he said.
Some seek him only in times of difficulty and others consider Christ a mere good master of ethical teachings: “one amongst many in history” he said.
Pope Francis concluded his catechesis reminding the faithful not to lose sight of the fact that faith calls us beyond ourselves to be God’s missionaries in the world.
“Let us renew our commitment to remove every obstacle that prevents us from experiencing the merciful works of our Father – he said – and let us ask him for an ever deeper faith so that we may be signs and instruments of his mercy”.