Pope Francis in his morning homily at Santa Marta – Vatican City – February 4, 2014
In his homily Pope Francis takes the day’s reading which portrays the figure of two fathers, King David who mourns the death of his rebel son Absalom and Jairus, the head of the Synagogue, who implores Jesus to heal his daughter. The Pope explains David’s weeping on hearing of the killing of his son, even though this son was fighting against him to conquer his kingdom. David’s army had won but he wasn’t interested in the victory, he was waiting for his son. He was only interested in his son! David was a king, the head of a nation but he was also a father. And therefore, when he heard the news about the death of his son, he shuddered, and went to an upper room and wept.
“Whilst he was walking away, he was saying: ‘My son, Absalom. My son! My son, Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! Absalom, my son! My son!’ This is the heart of a father, who never disowns his own son. ‘He’s a bandit, he’s an enemy. But he is my son!’ and David does not disown his fatherhood: he weeps.. David weeps twice for his children: On this occasion and another time when the son from his adultery was about to die. On that occasion too, he fasted and did penance in order to save the life of the son. He was a father!”
The other father is the head of the Synagogue. The Pope said Jairus is an important person but faced with the illness of his daughter, he is not ashamed to throw himself at Jesus’ feet: “My little daughter is dying, please come and lay your hands on her so she can be saved and live.” He is not ashamed and doesn’t care what the others may say, because he is a father. David and Jairus are two fathers:
“For them, the most important thing is their son, their daughter! There is nothing else. This is the only important thing! This makes us think about the first thing that we say to God in the Creed: “I believe in God the Father..” This makes us think about the fatherhood of God. But God is like this. God is like this with us! ‘But, Father, God doesn’t weep!’ But yes, he does! Remember Jesus how he wept when looking at Jerusalem. ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How many times have I wished to gather your children, like the hen who gathers her chicks under her wings’. God weeps! Jesus has wept for us! And that weeping of Jesus is exactly that of a Father who weeps, who wants everybody with him”.
Pope Francis stressed how in moments of difficulty, “Our Father responds. We remember Isaac, when he goes with Abraham to do the sacrifice: Isaac was not stupid, he realized that he was carrying the wood, the fire, but not the sheep for the sacrifice. He was stricken with anguish in his heart! And what does he say? ‘Father!’. And immediately the father replies “Here I am my son!’. In the same way, Jesus, in the Garden of Olives, said “with that anguish in his heart: My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by!’ And the angels came to give him strength. That’s how our Father is: He is a Father and a Father like this!” A Father like the one who was waiting for the prodigal son who left with all his money, all his inheritance. But the father was waiting for him every day and he “saw him from far away”. “This is our God!” the Pope said, and “our fatherhood” – that of fathers of families as well as the spiritual fatherhood of bishops and priests – must be like this. The Father has like an anointing that comes from the son: he can’t understand himself without his child! And for this reason he needs his child, he is waiting for him, he loves him, he looks for him, he forgives him, he wants him close to him, just as close as the hen who wants her chicks”:
“Let’s go home today with these two icons: David who mourns and the other, Jairus, the head of the Synagogue, who throws himself in front of Jesus, without being afraid or ashamed to become the laughing stock of others. It was their children, the son and the daughter who mattered. And with these two icons let’s say: ‘I believe in God the Father…’. And let’s ask the Holy Spirit – because it’s only He, the Holy Spirit – who teaches us to say “Abba, Father!’ It’s a grace! – to be able to say to God ‘Father’ with our hearts is a grace of the Holy Spirit. Let’s ask him for this”.