God dreams big, wants to transform world, defeat evil, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God is right by the side of each
person on earth, seeing each individual’s pain and wanting to bring hope and
joy, Pope Francis said.

“He calls us by name and tells us, ‘Rise up, stop
weeping, because I have come to free you,'” the pope said May 17 at his
weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

The pope continued his series of talks on Christian hope
by looking at the Gospel of John’s account of St. Mary Magdalene visiting
Jesus’ tomb.

She was the first to go to the tomb after his burial, he
said, pointing out that the same love and loyalty can be seen today in the many
women who head to the cemetery, visiting their dearly departed for years,
showing how not even death can break the bonds of love.

In Mary Magdalene’s case, however, she experienced not
only the sadness of Christ’s death, but also the discovery that his body had
disappeared, the pope said.

Just as she is weeping near the tomb, “God surprises
her in the most unexpected way,” the pope said, even though she is
stubbornly “blind” to recognizing the two angels and the Risen

Eventually, he said, “she discovers the most
earth-shattering event in human history when she is finally called by

“How beautiful it is to think that the first
appearance of the Risen One, according to the Gospels, happened in such a
personal way. That there is someone who knows us, who sees our suffering and
disappointment,” whose heart breaks “for us and who calls us by name,”
he said.

Reading the Gospels, one can see how many people seek
God, he said, “but the most extraordinary fact is that God was there in
the first place,” long before, watching, worrying and wanting to bring

Each and every person “is a story of love that God
has written on this earth,” the pope said. “Each one of us is a story
of God’s love” and he patiently waits and forgives each person.

Hearing God call her name revolutionized Mary Magdalene’s
life just as it will revolutionize and transform the life of every man and
woman, he said.

Christ’s resurrection brings a joy that does not come in
dribs and drabs “with an eyedropper,” he said, but as “a
waterfall” that will envelop one’s whole life.

The life of a Christian isn’t pervaded by “soft
bliss, but by waves that knock everything over,” Pope Francis said. Think
about it right now, he told the 15,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“With the baggage of disappointments and defeat that each one of us carries
in our heart, there is a God near us, calling us by name,” he said.

This God is not “inert,” he doesn’t bend to the
whims of the world, and he will not let death, sadness, hatred and the moral
destruction of people have the last word.

“Our God,” the pope said, “is a dreamer,
who dreams of the transformation of the world and achieved it with the mystery
of the resurrection.”

The pope prayed that St. Mary Magdalene would help people
listen to Jesus calling their name as they weep and mourn, and that they then
venture forth with hearts filled with joy, proclaiming his living presence to

Having witnessed the Lord, “is our strength and our
hope,” he said.

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