Reflecting on the first reading from the prophet Isaiah, the Holy Father noted God’s approach in the reading which was to comfort the people of Israel. In this peace, the Lord accomplishes a re-creation that “is more wonderful than the creation.”
“He visits His people: re-creating, with that power. And the people of God always had this idea, this thought, that the Lord will come to visit them,” the Pope said. “We remember the last word of Joseph to his brothers: ‘When the Lord will visit you, you must take my bones with you.’ The Lord will visit His people. It is the hope of Israel. But He will visit them with this consolation.”
This consolation, he said, brings the grace of hope which is the true strength of Christian life. “When a Christian forgets hope - or worse, loses hope - his life is senseless,” the Pope said. The Holy Father went on to say that God brings hope with a “special closeness” in order to truly comfort his people.
“It’s beautiful how today’s reading ends: ‘Like a shepherd He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers the lambs, carrying them in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care.’ That image of carrying the lambs in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care: that is tenderness. The Lord comforts us with tenderness,” the Pope said.
Commenting on the Gospel, which recalled Jesus’ parable of the shepherd searching for the lost sheep, the 76 year old Pontiff said that it in God’s eyes, each one of us is very important. The main mission of Jesus in the days between his Resurrection and Ascension was to comfort the disciples.
“He was close to them and gave hope, He approached with tenderness. But we think of the tenderness He had with the Apostles, with Mary Magdalene, with those of Emmaus,” the Pope said.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis asked that the Lord give all the grace to be open to the consolation of the Lord which brings us hope.