VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God is neither petty nor still; he goes out in search of people out of love, Pope Francis said at early morning Mass in the chapel of his residence.

The pope reflected on the Oct. 20 first reading from the letter to the Romans, in which St. Paul speaks on the abundance of grace that overflowed on humanity through Christ’s death and resurrection. He said God’s salvation is the friendship that exists “between us and him.”

Pope Francis noted that, in one verse, the word “abundance” is repeated three times.


“God gives in abundance to the point that Paul says as a final summary: ‘Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.’ Everything overflowed. And this is the love of God: without measure, his whole self,” the pope said.

Recalling the father in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, the pope said that God’s heart is never closed and “when we arrive, like that son, he embraces us, he kisses us; a God who celebrates.”

“God is not a petty God: He does not know pettiness,” the pope said. “He gives everything. God is not a stationary God: He looks, he waits for us to convert. God is not a God who flees: He goes in search of us, to search each one of us. But is this true? Every day he looks for us, he is looking for us. As he has done, as it was said in the word of the lost sheep or of the lost coin: He looks. He is always like this.”

The pope noted, however, that God’s love is not easy to understand “with our human criteria,” but only through grace. He recalled the example of an 84-year-old nun in his diocese of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She would spend her days visiting and speaking to hospital patients about the love of God.

This nun, he said, received “the gift to understand this mystery, this overabundance.”

“It is true, we always have the habit to measure situations with the measurements we have, and our measurements are very small,” he said.

“For this reason, it would do us well to ask the Holy Spirit for the grace … to be at least a little bit closer to understanding this love and to have the desire to be embraced, kissed with that limitless measure.”