According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he urged faithful to realize that their relationship with God must be a true one so that when we eventually tell him ‘here I am’ it is for real.
Commenting on today’s readings, particularly a Letter to the Hebrews, Francis said when Christ came into the world, Jesus said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire. In burnt offerings and sin offerings, you took no delight. Behold: here I am, I have come to do your will, Oh God.’
Jesus’ words here, Francis said, “sum up a concatenated history of ‘here I am,'” the history of salvation.
After Adam hid out of fear from the Lord, the Pontiff pointed out, God called and heard the answers of many men and women who said to Him: “Here I am. I am willing,” including the positive responses starting with Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and finally those of Mary and Jesus.
It’s a real dialogue, the Pontiff explained, not just a series of automatic responses, because “God speaks to those whom He calls”.
Always in Dialogue, Very Very Patient
“The Lord is always in dialogue with those whom He invites onto this path,” the Pope noted, stressing, “He has a lot of patience, lots of patience.”
To illustrate this, the Jesuit Pope referred to the Book of Job which contains a long dialogue between Job, who does not understand, and the Lord who answers his questions and “sets him straight.”
“At the end, what does Job say to God?” the Pope asked. Job’s response, he recalled, was: “Ah, Lord, You are right: I knew you only by hearsay but now my eyes have seen you: Here I am!” Christian life, Francis stressed, is a string of “Here I am,” of seeking to continuously do the Lord’s will.
Our ‘Here I Am’
Today’s liturgy, Pope Francis said, invites us to reflect on our own way of saying “Here I am” to the Lord.
“Am I going to hide like Adam and not respond? Or, when the Lord calls me, instead of saying ‘Here I am’ or ‘what do you want from me?’ Do I run away like Jonah, who did not want to do what the Lord was asking him? Or do I pretend I am doing the Lord’s will, but only superficially, like the doctors of the law that Jesus condemned because they were pretending; or do I look the other way like the Levite and the priest did before the poor injured man who had been beaten by robbers and left to die…”
“What kind of answer is my answer to the Lord?”
“Often,” the Pope also observed, “people tell me that when they pray they get angry with the Lord… this too is prayer! The Lord likes it when you tell Him to his face what you are feeling because He is the Father,” he reminded.
Before giving in to our temptations to hide, be fake, or look away, Pope Francis suggest, let us learn our way of saying “Here I am” to the Lord and of doing His will in our lives.