Jesus Forsaken: today's God
Thought of the Church

Pope Francis
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“It often becomes difficult to reconcile our Christian values with the horrors, difficulties and corruption which surround us,” said Bianca of Naples to Pope Francis during the meeting with young people on the Caracciolo Seafront on 21 March 2015. She asked him, “Amid the ‘silence of God’ how can we sow seeds of joy and hope?”

God, our God, is a God of words; He is a God of gestures; He is a God of silences. We know He is a God of words because God’s words are in the Bible: God speaks to us, He looks for us. The God of gestures is a God who goes out. Let us think of the parable of the Good Shepherd who goes out to look for us, who calls us by name, who knows us better than we know ourselves, who is always waiting for us, who always forgives us, who always communicates his understanding to us through gestures of tenderness.

And then there is the God of silence. Think of the great moments of silence in the Bible: for example, Abraham’s silent heart when he went with his son to offer him in sacrifice. He went up the mountain for two days and didn’t dare say anything to his son, though the son was not foolish, he understood. God was silent. But the greatest silence of God was on the Cross: Jesus felt the Father’s silence, calling it “abandonment”. “Father, why have you forsaken me?” And then there was the miracle of God, that word, that magnificent gesture which was the Resurrection.

Our God is also a God of silences and there are silences of God which cannot be explained until you look at the Crucifixion. For example, why do children suffer? Can you explain that to me? Where can you find the words of God to explain the suffering of children? This is one of those great silences of God. I am not saying that we can “understand” the silences of God, but we can come close to them by looking at Christ Crucified, Christ who died, Christ abandoned, from the Mount of Olives to the Cross. These are the moments of silence. “But God created us to be happy” — “Yes, it’s true”. But He is often silent. And this is also true. I cannot deceive you by saying: “No, have faith and everything will be ok, you will be happy, you will have good luck, you will have money...” No, our God is silent. Remember: He is the God of words, the God of gestures and the God of silences. You must bring these three things together in your life.