In his daily homily Pope Francis emphasized that God is not a “sorcerer” who does what we want, but rather has a plan that we should wait for with patience even when we face challenges.
“God does not behave like a sorcerer, God has his own way of proceeding. And God is patient,” the Pope said during Mass on Feb. 17, adding that “when we endure trials with faith they ripen our lives.”
Pope Francis celebrated Mass this morning in the Vatican's Saint Martha guesthouse alongside the members of the council of eight cardinals, who are holding their third meeting on matters of Church governance and reform this week.
Referring to one of the day's reading taken from the book of James which speaks of having joy in difficulties, the pontiff said we ought to “consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
Patience has nothing to do with resignation, but rather “when we endure trials with faith they ripen our lives,” he explained, adding that those who want everything immediately are like spoiled children who don't understand the wisdom of patience and perseverance.
These people, observed the Pope, cannot grow or face life as it comes, adding that another temptation for the impatient is the power of having what they want immediately.
Highlighting how this is the same attitude which the Pharisees had in the Gospel reading, taken from Mark, when they asked Jesus to perform signs, the pontiff noted that “they wanted God to perform a miracle to show that God approved of him.”
“They confuse God's way of acting with that of a sorcerer. But God does not behave like a sorcerer,” he emphasized, explaining that God is patient and “has his own way of proceeding.”
“Each time we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we sing a hymn to God’s patience,” continued the Pope, adding that “the Lord carries us on his shoulders with much patience!”
“Christians must live their lives in time with the music of patience, because it is the music of our fathers, of the people of God, of those who believed in his Word, who followed the commandment that the Lord gave to our father Abraham: 'walk before me and be blameless.'”
Quoting St. Paul's words in his letter to the Hebrews, Pope Francis noted that “God's people have suffered and have been persecuted, but they have had the joy of looking forward to God’s promises,” and emphasized that this is the patience we should have when we face difficulties in life.
A mature person has this patience, he observed, drawing attention to the many people he meets when he visits parishes who suffer with various problems – whether it be the challenges of raising a disabled child, or the challenge of illness.
These people, the Pope expressed, “go forward in their lives with patience…They do not ask for signs,” but “they know how to read the signs of the times.”
“They know that when the fig tree blossoms spring is on its way,” he explained, emphasizing that “those who wanted a sign from heaven did not know how to read the signs of the times,” and “that is why they did not recognize Jesus.”
Praising those people who “suffer but do not lose the smile of faith; those who have the joy of faith” the pontiff went on to say that these are the ones in our parishes ad institutions that keep the Church going with their everyday holiness.
Concluding his reflections, Pope Francis encouraged all present to “consider it pure joy when you face trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”