-- Catholic News Agency
Pope: Do Not Fear The Tender Consolation Of God
VATICAN CITY, December 10 (CNA/EWTN News) .- This morning, Pope Francis dedicated his homily to the solace given by the Lord, explaining that it brings hope and that we should be open to the comfort that he desires to give each of us personally.
"May the Lord give to all of us the grace to not be afraid of the consolation of the Lord," the Pope reflected in his Dec. 10 homily, "to be open: ask for it, seek it, because it is a consolation that will give us hope, and make us feel the tenderness of God the Father."
Pope Francis offered his words to those who were present in the Vatican's Saint Martha guesthouse chapel for his Mass.
Turning to the day's first reading, taken from the book of Isaiah in which God commands the prophet, "Comfort, give comfort to my people," the Pope highlighted how the Lord approaches his people "to give them peace."
Through this "work of consolation" which is strong enough that it "draws all things," the Lord "re-creates things," the Roman Pontiff explained.
"The Church never tires of saying that this re-creation is more wonderful than the creation. The Lord re-creates more wonderfully."
He also "visits his people," the Pope continued, recalling how "the people of God always had this idea, this thought - that the Lord will come to visit them."
Quoting the last words of Joseph to his brothers in the Scriptures, "when the Lord will visit you, you must take my bones with you," Pope Francis stated that "the Lord will visit his people. It is the hope of Israel."
The Lord's encounter with, and visit to, his people, is a re-creation," said the Pope.
"The Church never tires of saying that this re-creation is more wonderful than the creation. The Lord re-creates more wonderfully. And so he visits his people: re-creating, with that power."
This re-creation, and consolation, is the "drawing (of) all things" to God himself, Pope Francis said.
"When the Lord approaches," noted the Bishop of Rome, "he gives us hope; the Lord draws us with hope. He always opens a door. Always."
"In his nearness" the Lord "gives us hope," and "this hope that is a true strength in the Christian life. It is a grace, it is a gift."
"When a Christian forgets hope - or worse, loses hope - his life is senseless. It's as if his life hit a wall: there's nothing," emphasized the Roman Pontiff, stating that "the Lord comforts us and draws us forward with hope."
"And he does it with a special closeness to each one, because the Lord comforts his people and comforts each one of us."
"It's beautiful how today's reading ends," he reflected, repeating the words of Isaiah: "Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care."
The Pope proclaimed: "That image of carrying the lambs in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care - that is tenderness. The Lord comforts us with tenderness."
"God who is powerful is not afraid of tenderness," noted Pope Francis. "He becomes tender, becomes a child, becomes small."
Turning to the Gospel reading, in which the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to find the lost one, the Bishop of Rome explained that Christ tells us the same thing: "In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost."
Making us "go forward" and "giving us hope," he explained, was "the principle work of Jesus" during the forty days between his Resurrection and Ascension, adding that he was present "to comfort the disciples, to be close to them and give them consolation."
"He was close to them and gave hope, he approached with tenderness. But we think of the tenderness he had with the Apostles, with Mary Magdalene, with those of Emmaus."
The Lord, repeated the Pope, always "approached with tenderness," citing as examples Jesus' words, "give me something to eat," and his instructions to Thomas to "put your finger here."
"The Lord is always this way. This is the consolation of the Lord."
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