Pope Francis: God does not ‘give up’ if we are late

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Pope Francis greets visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican to pray the Angelus Sept. 17, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY — God is always looking for us, Pope Francis said during today’s Angelus address, highlighting God’s boundless love and generosity.

Drawing from the Gospel of Matthew, the Pontiff expounded on a parable where the master of a vineyard pays all his workers equally, regardless of the hours they’ve toiled. Pope Francis told the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square to understand this parable as a reflection of God’s unconditional love.

“Let us look more closely at two divine actions that emerge from the story,” the pope urged. “First, God is he who goes out at all hours to call us. Second, he repays everyone with the same ‘coin,’ which is his love.”

Pope Francis emphasized that God is the tireless seeker who actively seeks his children, never waiting for their efforts or merits to reach him. “For his heart, it is never too late; He is always looking for us and waiting for us. Let us not forget this: the Lord always seeks us and awaits us, always!” Pope Francis declared. He stressed that God takes the first step, demonstrating his love through Jesus, who came to reveal that love to humanity. “He does not give up if we are late in responding to him,” the pope continued, “he himself has taken the initiative and in Jesus has ‘come out’-to us, to show us his love.”

A message about divine justice

The pope further expounded on the parable’s message of divine justice, explaining that human justice often focuses on merits and calculations, while God’s justice is rooted in love. “Human justice says to ‘give to each his own according to what he deserves,’ while God’s justice does not measure love on the scales of our returns, our performance, or our failures: God just loves us, He loves us because we are his children, and He does so with an unconditional love, a freely-given love,” he emphasized.

Reflecting on the potential pitfalls of a “mercantile” relationship with God, Pope Francis cautioned against prioritizing personal achievements over the magnanimity of God’s grace. He called on believers to avoid judgment and extend love, understanding and forgiveness to all, just as Jesus does.

The pope concluded his address by invoking the intercession of Our Lady to help the faithful align their lives with the measure of God’s immeasurable love.

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