VATICAN CITY - The road to salvation may be pitted with
failures, but God uses them and overturns them to manifest
his love for his people, said Pope Francis.
Reflecting on the parable of the wicked tenants in the Gospel
of Mark during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae June
1, the pope said the parable may be understood to represent
the "failure of God's dream."
In the Gospel passage, Jesus tells of the owner of a
vineyard, who has a dream for his land, which he carefully
and lovingly prepares to be cultivated. He hires tenants to
work the field, but they are wicked and kill all those whom
the owner sends to retrieve his portion, including his son.
What should have been a story of love, said the pope, instead
appears to be a story of failure.
Failures are present throughout salvation history, the pope
said. God's dream for humanity included failure and bloodshed
from the very beginning when Abel was killed by his brother
Cain; the murders of many prophets followed, and the process
culminated with the crucifixion of Jesus, he said.
The Bible includes the "many, many laments of God" when faced
with the actions of his people, who are "unable to free
themselves from the desire Satan sowed" in Adam and Eve to
"become gods" themselves, the pope said.
"The story of salvation could very well be called the story
of failure," he said.
But this "logic of failure" is overturned in the cross, which
is perceived as "a scandal," but is where God makes manifest
the ultimate victory of his love for his people, the pope
"Here is where love wins," he said. "The story that begins
with a dream of love, but develops as a story of failures,
ends in the victory of love: the cross of Jesus."
In the Gospel, Jesus speaks of "the stone that the builders
rejected (that) has become the cornerstone."
"And the son, the last one sent, who was rejected, judged,
not listened to and killed, became the cornerstone," the pope
said. God grants "salvation through the rejection of his son,
who saves us all," he said.
God builds upon failure, the pope said, noting failures make
up the journey of every Christian.
"The path toward our salvation is a road that does not lack
many failures," he said.
"If each of us were to do an examination of conscience, we
would realize how many times we rejected the prophets ...
(or) told Jesus, 'Go away!'; how many times we wanted to save
ourselves; how many times we thought we were in the right,"
Christians would do well to humble themselves before God, he
said, just as Jesus did "in our name."