September 28, 2015

Pope Francis: Pride, Humility and the Gospel of the Day After

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Pope Francis has gone back to Rome. Sigh--I miss him. I live in central Florida so the closest he ever got to  me was probably about 330 miles away and that was in a foreign country, Cuba. The closest I got to him in the United States was when he traveled to Washington, D.C. which is over 900 miles away. No matter, I do miss him. His gentle, kind and loving face was all over the TV screen since last Tuesday. I have been among his captive audience. It was so uplifting and refreshing watching this apostle of Christ and descendant of St. Peter do his thing and, on TV no less, for all the world to see.. Yes, I miss him.

The Pope left last night at about 8 p.m. At 8 a.m this morning I was at morning Mass. The gospel reading for the day blew me away. This reading was not in place to reflect his visit but it did. The  reading was scheduled for today and put in place on the universal church calendar several years ago. So, it is pure coincidence this gospel reading and his visit overlapped. If not, it was inspired from above. (That one works for me).


This is from the Gospel of Luke; Chapter 9: vs 46-50
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 
For the one who who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest."

This gospel reading is all about the greatest of all the 'deadly' sins, Pride. It is also about the greatest of all 'heavenly' virtues, Humility. This is a "clash of the titans" of evil vs Good. And Pope Francis, without trying and by just being who God made him to be, wore the mantle of humility without fanfare, showmanship, pretentiousness or anything that might be self-serving in any manner. Yes, he wore that mantle and it was fastened to his shoulders with the clasp of Love. In so doing he showed  the whole world what it means to think of yourself last before all others.  (Was that a Fiat Hatchback?)

Jorge Mario Bergoglio never asked to be a bishop or a cardinal. He never "lobbied" for these positions or  sought them out in any way. He did not have "super-pacs" at his beckoned call when the vacancy for Pope opened. He simply loved being a priest, working with the poor and homeless and doing his best to follow God's call so he would make his life pleasing to Him. Make no mistake, God called him to the papacy. The secular world would mock that concept but that is why they cannot experience the joy so many millions of faithful experienced in America over the past week. If they could only swallow their damn pride a bit and open their hearts they may find the elusive peace that evades them.

Pope Francis is filled with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit leads him to stop his motorcade and wade into a crowd of children and hug them and kiss their foreheads. It compels him to embrace the crippled, the disfigured, the mentally challenged, the homeless as well as the "uppity-ups". He has no qualms about walking into a prison and embracing hard-core murderers, rapists, thieves, and drug dealers.

After seeing President Obama and offering Mass during his stop in Washington, D.C. he made a point of going to the offices of the Little Sisters of the Poor. He had to send a message to the entire world about the solidarity that exists within the Church when it comes to respect for life, ALL life. That message required no words---just action. The Pope gave that message by meeting with the Sisters who take care of the elderly poor, free of charge and have been doing so since St. Jeanne Jugan founded the order back in 1841 .

Pope Francis has left our country. He has left it a more contented and inspired nation. He has reached out to everyone and many have responded. He represents the Goodness and Love that Jesus Christ brought to us. He is His ambassador on earth. He did his work well. If this had been a baseball game it would have been called "Perfect". But now it is over and the Prideful will resurface.

Thanks for the grace, inspiration, love and memories Holy Father. We have to get you back here more often.

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