God is greater than our sins, pope says at general audience

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The power of God’s forgiveness
“is greater than our sins,” Pope Francis said.

Christians have “the
certainty that he will never abandon us,” the pope said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s
Square March 30.

“If you fall into sin,
stand up! When a child falls, what does he do? He raises his hand to his mother
or father to help him up,” the pope said. “Raise your hand and God will help you; this
is the dignity of God’s forgiveness.”

With tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square,
the pope reflected on Psalm 51, King David’s hymn of
repentance after committing adultery with Bathsheba and murdering her husband,
Uriah the Hittite. The
psalm often is called the “Miserere” from the Latin opening of
David’s plea, “Have mercy on me, O God.”

Those who pray the psalm, Pope Francis said, are
called to be like David who, despite the gravity of his sins, was genuinely
repentant and confident in God’s mercy.

“In this prayer, humankind’s true
need is manifested: The only thing we really need in our lives is to be
forgiven, freed
from evil and its deadly consequences,” the pope said.

everyone has experiences of sin and
hopelessness, the pope encouraged Christians to never forget that “God is
greater than our sin.”

“God is greater than all
the sins that we can commit and his love is an ocean in which we immerse
ourselves without fear of being overwhelmed,” he said. “God’s
forgiveness means giving us the assurance that he will never abandon us.”

In recognizing their sins, the pope said,
Christians not only seek forgiveness but also celebrate God’s justice and
holiness. God does not simply wipe away sins like a dry cleaner taking out a
stain but completely destroys it “right from the root without leaving any

The pope told the people in the square
that through the grace of God’s forgiveness “we become new creatures”
with a “new heart, a new spirit and a new life.” As forgiven sinners,
he added, Christians are called to share this gift with those in need of God’s

“It is beautiful to be forgiven, but
in order to be forgiven, one must first forgive,” the pope said.

“May the Lord grant us, through the
intercession of Mary, the mother of mercy, to be witnesses of his forgiveness,
which purifies the heart and transforms life.”

– – –

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Original Article