The Lord is a fierce warrior in defence of His people – the prayers of His people are His only weakness. These were the words of Pope Francis during Mass on Saturday morning in the Vatican’s Santa Marta.
Pope Francis focused his homily on the strength of the Lord as saviour of His chosen people, and on the strength which His people can find in prayer.
Jesus tells His disciples a parable about the necessity of praying without ever becoming weary, like the widow who insistently petitioned a dishonest judge for justice, until she eventually obtained it. God “will secure the rights of His chosen ones who call out to him day and night”, Pope Francis said, just as He did when Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt.
When God calls Moses, He says to him: “I have heard the cry, the lament of my people”. The Lord listens, Pope Francis said: His “all-powerful word from heaven’s royal throne bounded, a fierce warrior”. That’s what the Lord is like, the Pope explained, when He defends His people: He is a fierce warrior, He saves His people.
This is the strength of God, Pope Francis continued, but what is our strength? Ours is the strength of the widow: to knock at the heart of God, to knock, to lament our many problems, many pains, to ask the Lord to free us from these pains, from these sins, from these problems. Our strength is prayer, the Pope said, and the prayer of a humble person is the weakness of God. The Lord is weak only in this one sense: He is weak before the prayers of His people.
You are like the widow, Pope Francis said to those present, you must pray, ask, knock at the heart of God every day. The widow never tired, she was always brave. And the Lord listens to His people’s prayer. You, Pope Francis concluded, are the privileged representatives of the people of God, and you must pray to the Lord for the many needs our Church and of humanity.
Jesus kept his wounds so that we would experience his mercy. This is our strength and our hope.