Pope Francis explained, “Grace is not a ‘commodity’ that we can gain through selfish attitudes, like that of the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots who thought that they were such good people, but in reality feared God and ended up in isolation.
God’s grace is another matter: it is closeness, it is tenderness, saying that if we haven’t experienced this closeness then we don’t truly understand who God is.
He recalled the confession of a woman several years ago who was tormented by the question of whether or not a wedding she had attended on a Saturday evening counted for Sunday Mass since the readings were different.
When she confessed, Pope Francis recalled that the priest answered her by saying Madam, the Lord loves you so much. You went to Church and there you received Communion, you were with Jesus…Do not worry, the Lord is not a merchant, the Lord loves us, He is close.”
Pope Francis is reminding the Church that Jesus really does love us. That he knows our hearts. Sometimes I get the impression at priest meeting that the most important matters in the Church deal with the man made rules. We sometimes forget that Jesus really is more interested in just loving us.
I remember a dinner at a recent priest meeting and the topic of conversation revolved around what Pope Francis alluded to in his homily. The priests gave the exact opposite answer to what Pope Francis said above.
John of the Cross said in the twilight of our life we will be judged on love. He also said where there is no love put love and soon you will find love.