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Pope Francis: God did not send his Son to ‘crush the wicked,’ but to call them to conversion

September 07, 2016

Continuing with weekly series of addresses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his September 7 general audience to the conversation between Christ and the disciples of St. John the Baptist (Mt. 11:2-6).

“In our Gospel passage this morning, John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the Messiah, since Jesus’ ministry was not what John anticipated; it did not correspond to his expectation of God’s justice,” the Pope told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square, according to the official English-language synthesis of his remarks.

“Jesus responds by telling the disciples to report what they see and hear: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the Gospel is proclaimed to the poor,” Pope Francis continued. “Jesus shows himself to be the instrument of God’s mercy; he manifests God’s justice by bringing his consolation and salvation to all.”

The Pope added:

God did not send his Son to punish sinners and crush the wicked. Rather he came to invite them to conversion, so that they too could turn back to God.Jesus then says to John’s disciples: “Blessed is he who takes no offense at me” (Mt 11:6), who does not see in me any obstacle.

This happens when we have a false image of the Messiah, when we construct our own image of God, which prevents us from experiencing his real presence among us. Every time we reduce him to our ideas and whims, use his name to justify our interests, seek him only in times of difficulty, then we also lose sight of the fact that faith calls us beyond ourselves to be his missionaries in the world.

Let us renew our commitment to remove every obstacle that prevents us from experiencing the merciful works of our Father, and let us ask him for an ever deeper faith so that we may be signs and instruments of his mercy.


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  • Posted by: Jason C. - Sep. 07, 2016 12:48 PM ET USA

    Amen. But showing mercy is hard. From the perspective of "the wicked", mercy sounds the same as crushing them: whether you're "crushing" them by expressly stating that they're wrong and in need of conversion, or merely implying it by offering Christ's mercy, it's all based on the assumption that their position is a sinful one.