VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When Christians address God as “our Father” they acknowledge that God created and loves them, but they also recognize that all people are their brothers and sisters, Pope Francis said.
“We have a Father who is very close to us, who embraces us,” the pope said June 20 during the homily at his early morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
Commenting on the Gospel of Matthew’s presentation of the Lord’s Prayer, Pope Francis said it begins with a recognition of the God who created each person, loves each one and knows what each one needs.
“To whom do I pray? To ‘almighty God’? No, he is too far away” and remote, the pope said. And the nebulous “cosmic God” who seems so popular today is not personal enough.
“You must pray to the Father. ‘Father’ is a strong word,” the pope said. “You must pray to one who generated you and gave you life.”
At the same time, he said, Christians don’t say “my Father,” but “our Father because I am not an only child, none of us is.”
Pope Francis said people cannot think they are coming honestly to God in prayer and addressing him truly as “our Father” if they are angry or are holding grudges against someone.
“If I am not at peace with my brothers,” he said, “I cannot say ‘Father’ to him.”
In the day’s Gospel selection, the passage includes the Lord’s Prayer, but concludes with Jesus telling the disciples: “If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
Pope Francis said he knew people were thinking, “It’s so hard to forgive others” and to let go of the desire to get even.
However, “you cannot pray with enemies in your heart,” the pope said. “Jesus has promised us the Holy Spirit. He will teach is, from within, from the heart, how to say ‘Father’ and how to say ‘our.'”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Catholic services at a funeral home and Communion wine for children
NEXT: The superficial and the rigid ‘masquerade’ as Christians, pope says
Share this story