The way God saves his people, Francis stated, is "not from afar, but being close, tenderly.”
“God is presented here as a mother," he observed, "as a mother talks to her baby: when a mother sings a lullaby to her baby, she takes the voice of the child ... She talks with the tone of the child, to the point of seeming ridiculous."
Our heavenly Father, he also noted in the homily, loves us freely, caresses us, and coddles us. But rather than accept this grace, we try to "control" and “commodify” it.
"In this way," the Pope explained, "this beautiful truth of God's closeness slips into a kind spiritual book-keeping: 'I will do this because it will give me 300 days of grace ... I will do that because it will give me this, and doing so I will accumulate grace.'"
"But what is grace? A commodity? That’s what it appears. And throughout history, this closeness of God to his people has been betrayed by this selfish attitude, selfish, by wanting to control grace, to turn it into merchandise."
The Pope reminded those gathered of the groups during Jesus’ time which made this mistake, including the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots.
"The grace of God," he said, "is another matter: it is close, it is tenderness.”
Francis explained it involves God telling you "beautiful things with tenderness: this is our justice, this closeness of God, this tenderness, this love."
"At the risk of seeming ridiculous, our God is so good to us," he said.
“If we had the courage to open our hearts to this tenderness of God, how much spiritual freedom we would have! How much!"
Extending an invitation to those gathered, Pope Francis told those listening, “Today, if you have a little time, at home, take the Bible: Isaiah, Chapter 41, verses 13 to 20, seven verses. And read it.”
Here, he noted, we see this tenderness of God, “this God who sings in each of us a lullaby, like a mother."