By Joseph Summers
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins.” Mk 2:22
It is an exciting time to be a Catholic! Even more so a Catholic missionary evangelist! All the buzz surrounding this Year of Faith and the New Evangelization is truly encouraging. This is certainly a crucial moment in the life of the Church, we Catholics are being challenged to evaluate our lives examining them through the lens of the Gospel.
Evangelion is Greek for Gospel, and so the New Evangelization could rightfully be called the New Gospelization. It is time for us to get Gospelized and to Gospelize the world!
As simple as that sounds, the reality is that getting from where we are as a people of God to where we need to be is going to involve some epic maneuvering; heck, it might even involve some about faces in certain areas of our lives as individuals and as a Church. (By the way the Biblical term for that is Repentance!)
You see, you can’t just slap a “New Evangelization” bumper sticker on the same old methods, practices and models of Catholic living and pretend like that is enough to get the job done.
If the old/current approach were enough, we wouldn’t need a New Evangelization, and there wouldn’t be Catholics sitting on cushioned pews, stacking up bundles in the bank, while the souls of billions, the great majority of humanity in fact, are in jeopardy, wandering in darkness without ever having heard the Gospel.
If our present system were hunky dory, then we wouldn’t be renovating church after church here in the United States while other Catholics around the world literally starve, or have no access to the teaching ministry of the Church. Jesus says new wine deserves new wineskins, which means the NEW Evangelization needs new methods and fresh commitment.
Back to the Basics
It is time for NEW! Actually, we need to be re-NEWed. The New Evangelization is not a new message. We don’t need a new Gospel, we need to live the Gospel! It is time to get back to the basics, to the faith and proclamation of the first Christians when the Gospel truly was new! The Good News was so hot off the press that it burned like fire in the hearts of the early disciples. As the Church founded on the Apostles, it might benefit us to pay attention to what the Apostles preached.
If you open the book of Acts you will will not find Peter and Paul talking about First Saturday devotions, the Novena to St. Joseph, or even the do’s and don’ts of liturgy. (This is not an assault on pious practices or Catholic doctrine which I value, it’s just an observation of Apostolic preaching). Their message, or kerygma, sounded something like this: “God loves us, even though we have sinned and offended God, even though we deserve punishment for our rebellion against Him, the Father sent His Son to die and bring us new life. You can be reborn, you can be saved through Jesus!”
Ignited by the Fire of Pentecost
The early Church was fixated on JESUS. They couldn’t stop talking about Him, they couldn’t stop thinking about Him, they couldn’t stop trying to live their lives by His Words. In fact, no one could stop them! St. Paul expresses the unconquerable attitude of the first Christians in Philippians 1:21: “For to me to live is Christ and death is gain.”
Death wasn’t enough to stay the bold evangelization of the Apostles and company! Far too often this Apostolic fervor is starkly contrasted when compared to my faith and the faith of most of my fellow parishioners! But before we give too much credit to the Apostles, let’s not forget where they were when Jesus was being executed.
Even the Resurrection was not enough to get them out of the upper room and onto the corner of Jericho and Main in downtown Jerusalem; it was not until Pentecost that we see the profound metanoia of the Apostles. Ignited with the very fire of love, the Holy Spirit fueled the engine of evangelization that was to transform the known world.
It can happen again, but we first need to beg God to send a New Pentecost for this New Evangelization, that we too might be transformed by the awesome power, gifts, and charisms of the Holy Spirit. In fact, to take a cue from Jesus’ advice to the Apostles before ascending into heaven, we shouldn’t be doing much of anything before being filled with God’s anointing Spirit.
The New Wine of the Spirit
We (individuals, families, parishes, & dioceses) need this new life, this new wine. We need a new paradigm because the new wine of the Spirit will burst complacent Catholicism. To see the New Evangelization bear the fruit the Father undoubtedly wants to see in the world, we must drink deeply of the new wine of the Spirit.
In order to Gospelize the world, we must be steeped in praying and reading the Gospels. Intoxicated by the Spirit, and a love for the Gospel, incarnate in Christ Jesus, we must put off the old wineskins of a faith that is content to be a part of our lives, instead of our very lifeline.
We must shatter ideologies that leave the Sermon on the Mount, on the mount two millennia ago. We must renounce a model of church that allows us to invest all our resources in maintaining buildings and the status quo, while the primary service of evangelization which the Church offers humanity goes unattended and unfunded.
We can’t pretend that God doesn’t care if I keep adding cute new outfits to my wardrobe while Jesus hungers, thirsts, and waits in the least of our brothers. The New Evangelization doesn’t mean getting Catholics to feel good about hanging crucifixes on their walls, it means tearing down walls, taking up our crosses and following Jesus, even to death.
We have been swamped with our mission… in a great way! Here are some highlights.
Floors for the Poor
The Floors for the Poor has been gaining momentum again. I have only been able to help with one since we started up again. The people are very proud of their new floor and it is a great blessing to them.
Our home visit to Ludi Openia and her husband Lupe continues to bear more and more fruit. First let me thank you for the $300 that you donated to her during her psoriasis outbreak. Just as we were heading over to help her with the medicine, she told us that a few had contributed for her medicinal needs. However, her little sari-sari had been shut down because her attendant quit and no one was there to help. With no income now we were able to and have been paying for her electric and water bills.
There is still a few medicines that we’ve been helping them with but it is a lot cheaper than the prescriptions that she was using. We’ve also been helping with groceries, firewood, and hot meals. We will send you a final tally of the $300 when we use it up and itemize it. They continue to be so thankful for the visits. We, too, are blessed to see their smiling faces when we arrive. We visited them on Easter Sunday and greeted us with shouts of joy…literally! “Oh, the Holy Family came to visit us on Easter!” They are such a sweet couple and very lonely. I think their relatives have quit visiting them and they have hardly any contact with anyone anymore besides us. We are thinking of loading them up in our truck and taking them for a spin just to get out of the house.
Speaking of that, Ludi has repeatedly said how much she prays for our ministry. She even told us one day that she has in mind 3 places that we should go and minister: Manolo, Kasalugo(?), and Caleb. Caleb!!! That is where we went on Christmas Eve and fell in love with the people. They don’t have a chapel there but we have been wanting to return more regularly. So weird that she would mention this. But also providential I think. Anyway, we are wanting to get together to plan out talks and visits…and she wants to go with us! I have been praying hard to have a translator with me to better get the message across. Please pray that I can learn the language also! Maybe by Pentecost I will be fluent 🙂
Speaking of translators, I had my regular Tuesday visit at the jail today. I took a volunteer from Isla Bonita. Her name is Jenkie. Bebie, Rommel, Ramon, two teenagers, and Samuel went today also. It was Jenkie that was the star of the day, though. It made such a difference to have her explain in Visaya what I was trying to say compared to when I would go alone. People were laughing, answering yes/no, and interacting. It blesses me when at least one comes up to share some words or thoughts on the day. Today there was 5! Alleluia!
For More Updates from the mission in Malaybalay visit their blog: What’s The Dealy-O
This is the update for the Ahuano team during Holy week. We are so blessed to be part of this community. During Holy week we spent a week in Colonia Los Rios which is a community 2 hours away from Ahuano. We also served the community of Runashito and Selva amazonica which are “close” communities. Actually they are hour and a half away from Rios our base community on foot. We had to walk there Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to give a first communion cathequises. I will lay out the schedule of our Holy week and then go into detail for the awesome parts.
The Most Active Week of Our Lives
Monday: Woke up 6:30 am., morning prayer at 7:00. We left to go visit the families at 8. We walked all the way to San Jose another community where we visited a childrens school. We sang and prayed with them. We actually got a ride back that afternoon. Then we left around 12 to make it to Runashito at 1. We got there at 2 and did our catequeses. Then we came back around 4:30 to prepare for our celebration in Rios at 6. We celebrated until 8:30. That day we walked everywhere and visited many families.
Tuesday: We pretty much did the same, but we visited the school in los Rios and talked to the kids about our call to be missionaries.
Wednesday: This day we decided to visit the families and Runashito and dedicate some time for them. We finished the three day cathequises and played a movie for the kids about the life of our Lord. Later that day we celebrated at Los Rios.
Thursday: We went to Shontapunta to get some empanadas for our “goodbye party”. We wanted to celebrate before the death of our lord and because we were going back to Ahuano on Saturday. We visited families there with the nuns. Later that day we did praise and worship and then celebrate in Rios. We talked about the sacraments and answer many questions about our faith. This community is evangelical. The catholics are only the minority so they are persecuted everyday and have really good questions about some of the things that the evangelicals say.
Friday: In the morning we visited families. We did stations of the cross as usual and later that night we played the movie The passion of Christ.
Saturday: We went to Selva Amazonica which is a community hour an a half away from Rios. There we visited some families and came back around 2. After that, we went to Florida (another community) to celebrate mass with Father and returned to Ahuano.
We bid farewell to our host family as we realized that the most active week in our lives had ended.
Longest Most Blessed Week
Last week was definitely the longest most blessed week in missions. We serve and saw God working in so many ways every second of our time there. We persevere in our prayers, prayed rosaries and divine mercies on our 4 hours walks to the communities and back. We share the faith at every opportunity the Lord gave us. Every person we meet we got to talk to them about God and his love for us. I know it sounds too good to be true, but not admitting it would not be fair to the work that the team did in Rios.
Everything seems to get better with time here. Our struggles are being change slowly by the Lord to our routine. We feel more comfortable and at home everyday we spend here. We are meeting more people and sharing more and more. This week we also started this new ministry where we visit the sick in Tena. We go to the hospital and visit our brothers who are suffering and desperately need some prayers and company.
We are always praying for you guys for the Big Woods community and the missions teams in Mexico, and the Philippines. We hope yall had a blessed week also. God bless.
– Luis BlancoButton Button Button
By Rebekah L.
I don’t usually write about controversial topics. When it comes to confrontation in general, I run the other way. And abortion is at the top of the list for controversy. But the Holy Spirit and a no-nonsense homily have prompted me to speak up.
When the Kermit Gosnell trial hit the social media world, I heard the facts: Third-trimester abortions. Women abused and even killed. Tiny spinal cords snipped. Jars of severed baby feet. I was shocked. At the brutality, yes. But also at my reaction. Or lack of reaction. I skimmed my Facebook newsfeed, browsed the articles, and went about life as usual. Then my sluggish conscience pricked me. More like slammed me into a brick wall. I had just read about the murder of innocent babies and five minutes later was skipping along to make lunch and run errands. Why wasn’t my heart aching with sorrow and righteous anger? How could I so casually hear such gruesome truths? What had happened to me?
A Hard, Desensitized Heart
My heart had grown hard. Desensitized. Blinded to the reality of abortion. Maybe you’re like me. You tell yourself that pro-life ministry is great…for some people. You believe abortion is wrong, but don’t join the active outcry. When you’re really honest, you get a little fed up with all the pro-life emails and posts. Your mind can’t process statistics like “over 50 million abortions since Roe v. Wade” and “4,000 babies aborted each day.”
I remember the day I learned what abortion is. My mom and I were driving home from dropping my brother off at soccer practice. The spring sky was clear blue and the newly sprouting fields unfolded into the distance. A beautiful day for such an ugly lesson. “Sometimes when a woman is pregnant, she doesn’t want her baby,” my mom explained. “A doctor uses metal tools or a special vacuum to kill the baby inside of the womb. Those little babies are thrown away like trash.” I felt like crying, throwing up, and hiding in a corner. My palms poured sweat and my mind reeled. Images of dismembered babies and bloody surgical instruments haunted my imagination. Abortion was clearly evil.
The Heart of the Issue: LIFE
Somewhere over the years, the term ‘abortion’ became clouded. It was disguised as a voting issue rather than an attack on the sanctity of human life. I occasionally prayed outside abortion clinics and wore pro-life tee shirts because this was what ‘good Catholics’ did. But my instinctive horror grew dull. My heart began to atrophy. The evil of abortion was hidden behind biased news reports and op-ed columns. It was a social topic dictated by policies and legislation. Pro-life bumper stickers and rallies. Heated conversations between opinionated coworkers and friends. This was a constant national debate that I was tuning out.
But abortion isn’t about politics. It’s not a social issue.
It’s a moral one.
About life and death.
Good and evil.
The mainstream media turned a blind eye to the Gosnell case. But how often have I remained silent about abortion? Before we point fingers, let’s take an honest look into our own hearts. What do we find there—stone or flesh? I won’t have to answer for the media’s inactivity, but I will be held responsible for continuing in my sins of omission.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian who bravely opposed the Nazis during WWII, wrote that, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Our Action Plan
In the homily that helped to awaken my lapsed conscience, Fr. Bryce Sibley outlines seven steps of action:
- Educate ourselves on the reality of abortion and contraception.
- Stop equivocating about semantics. Call a spade a spade—abortion is bloody murder, not a right or a choice.
- Be passionately vocal, especially on social media.
- Get angry! Anger is the correct response to injustice; it compels us to act.
- Stop supporting pro-abortion politicians. We need to be single-issue voters on the issue of murdering babies.
- Pray. Laws will change only with the conversion of hearts and minds. Beg for God’s mercy.
- Show genuine support for women. Mothers who are pregnant, scared, and alone don’t need judgment or condemnation. They need love.
Each of us has a part to play in the fight for life. Some are called to counsel women outside abortion clinics. Some can share their own stories of brokenness, healing, and forgiveness. Others will enter the political arena. Many battle the powers of darkness through prayer and fasting. What will YOU do? Everyone must defend life, especially in its most vulnerable form. I’m still asking God to show me how I can join the fight. The first step is allowing Him to change my heart.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” -Ezekiel 36:26Button
By Rebekah L.
Read More from Rebekah’s Blog
By Sarah Summers Granger
With the Kermit Gosnell case finally gaining some national media attention, and certainly being shared among the active Pro-Life community, I cannot get on Facebook or check my email without my heart being torn apart. The thought of even one precious baby being ripped from their mothers’ womb is hard for me to bear. The pictures and first-hand accounts that are being shared about Gosnell’s horror chamber filled with the remains of hundreds of children, though necessary for exposing the atrocity that is abortion, are literally more than I can stand to see.
Those of us who try to fight the holocaust of abortion know the numbers: 4000 babies are murdered in the US every day, over 1 million babies a year, and over 54 million since 1973. These numbers scream out the tragedy of abortion. They are important to know. But sometimes I think that focusing too much on the numbers, deadens us to the most important underlying truth. The real reason why we must fight against abortion with all of our might, the reason why the Gosnell clinic and every other clinic where thousands of babies have died are so blood-curdlingly horrifying, is that LIFE IS PRECIOUS. Every life. Every single baby. From the first moment of conception, that baby is a beloved, irreplaceable child of God, and their value is beyond compare.
I have always believed this. I have always been Pro-Life. However, I came to understand in a new way how very dear life is at every stage when Kevin and I faced the tragedy of losing our baby to miscarriage.
The Pain of Loss
When we married four years ago, our family included not only the two of us, but my three amazing children – Alyse, Anika, and Soren – from my previous marriage. Kevin and I wanted, like married couples should, to have children of our own. We were more than open to life; we were incredibly excited at the thought of children. We hoped and prayed to have many children, and to start having them soon after our marriage.
A few weeks after our wedding, our prayers were answered. One morning, I woke feeling very nauseated. Eating didn’t help. I couldn’t figure it out. Excitedly, Kevin asked if I might be pregnant. It was possible, I thought, though I never imagined we would have a honeymoon baby. He rushed out to get a pregnancy test. It was positive! I was shocked but happy; Kevin was over the moon. We wanted so badly to have children of our own to add to our family. How perfect, we thought, that just as soon as we were married, God sent us a baby that we all could love on, to unite us in a special way.
That night, Kevin fell asleep with his hand on my stomach. “I love you so much my little baby,” he whispered over and over in the dark. Tears filled my eyes. Everything was so perfect.
The next day I started cramping and spotting. We didn’t know any better, that pregnancy tests can read positive for weeks after a miscarriage, so we bought another overpriced pregnancy test. It still said positive. We hoped that meant our baby was still alive. We held each other and cried. I put my hands on my stomach, “Please, please Jesus, save our baby!” Kevin prayed, too, desperately, sincerely, with tears in his eyes and in his voice. The bleeding didn’t stop. By the next day I had no doubts. We had lost our baby. Our precious little baby. I couldn’t stop crying. Kevin just held me and wept.
We felt the loss so deeply. Our hearts shattered. I never knew before how much you could love a baby you had never seen, never even felt move inside of you. How when you lose that tiny little life you lose not only the baby inside of your womb, but also the chubby little baby you hoped to hold and smother with kisses, the toddler who would have called you Mommy and Daddy, the kindergartener you would have prepared for their first day of school, the blue eyes that would have smiled at you as you taught them to play the guitar, the nervous high schooler trying out for the team, the college kid calling you to tell you about their crazy math professor, the first dance at the wedding, the grandchildren you may have had. A life, a whole life with your child, is what you lose when you lose a baby. I never understood until Kevin and I lost our William.
William, that’s what we chose to name our son. We lost him so early that there is no scientific way of course that we could know he was a boy, but in our hearts we knew. The first night after he was gone, I cried myself to sleep and dreamt of Kevin’s father, a man I had never known because he passed away before Kevin and I met, holding a beautiful baby boy, swaying with him and kissing him. The dream was so real, and so unexpected, and so consoling. I told Kevin about it and he sobbed. We felt that God was letting us know that our baby was safe, in heaven. Kevin’s father’s middle name was William, a strong name we both loved and we chose it for our son. William Samuel Granger. Samuel because that was the little boy that God called his mother, Hannah, to give back to Him in the Old Testament. We held hands and gave our baby tearfully back to God.
The Depths of Grief
Sadly, that tragedy was just the beginning for us. We suffered six more miscarriages after William, losing a total of eight babies. Every loss, every grief was profound. We look forward to meeting our little ones – Miriam, Charis, Xavier, Daniel, Amos, Amelie, and Isaiah – in heaven one day. Until then, we know that they are beloved not only by us, but by God, and that their lives are precious and eternal.
Before I formed you, I knew YOU
We have also been blessed beyond compare to finally hold Isaac, our precious son, in our arms for over a year! We are expecting Isabel in September, too. With two teenagers, an eleven year old, a one year old, eight babies in heaven, and one on the way God has generously let us come to a deeper understanding of how valuable every child is at every age.
We cannot stop fighting for everyone to know this truth. God says to us, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5) All babies ever conceived are known personally by God; they are loved, and irreplaceably precious. Let’s pray that the Gosnell case and the horror of abortion serves to spur us on to value every life even more, to help struggling women have the love and support they need to embrace the life within them, and to never grow numb to even one loss of any baby at any stage. Because, as every child I’ve lost, and every one I’ve been blessed enough to hold, has shown me: life is so very, very precious!
Read More from the Granger’s Family Blog
By Susana De A.
Two years ago I was sitting in a parish hall on a hot, muggy Filipino morning. I was in a very bad mood. We had a bunch of girls living with us in our mission apartment for three weeks. Sleeping on the floor + over-friendly mouse in the house + random giant cockroaches + overheated bedroom + giggly girls who stayed up too late talking = 1 extremely grumpy Susanna. Not to mention, the person who had told us to be there for the weekend conference hadn’t mentioned that it was to be completely in Visaya… which still sounded like gibberish to us!
As I sat there feeling resentful and homesick, I began to sketch on a blank sheet of paper. I kept feeling irrationally guilty because I felt like I was back in school ignoring the teacher, and if I just focussed hard enough, I would somehow absorb the meaning of all the long speeches.
This is the picture I drew that day.
All my homesickness rose to the surface. I wanted home, comfort, family, familiarity. I wanted MY little nieces, not the babies from other people’s families. I wanted to be there as my little goddaughter began to walk and talk and grow fond of people. I wanted the ease and rhythm of hanging out with my people—dancing with my cousin at our regular jive parties. I wanted someone to look after me and hug me and love me. I wanted to get OUT of my rut and do something crazy… stand on my head. And that day I desperately imagined a clean bed, not just a mattress or a thin mat, with fresh cool sheets, in a quiet room and most importantly with NO MICE OR COCKROACHES in the vicinity!
I wanted, wanted, wanted! I was past the honeymoon stage of my mission, and I was NOT satisfied. I retreated to the dream world of my imagination, where everything was better, and I wouldn’t have to deal with the present moment.
The next morning I went to the Lord in prayer. I’m thankful that both the community I grew up with and FMC insist on daily personal prayer. I opened my bible to read the Mass readings of that day… and started laughing.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
Very funny, Lord!
So what was he saying? I DID want. I wanted everything else but Him. C.S. Lewis once wrote “All that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—(is) the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
I think He was reminding me of the truth—He was enough. He wanted me to redirect my longing to Him, and He would satisfy me. My daydreams and imagination would never satisfy that hunger. Sometime last year I wrote in my journal, “I’ve wasted so much of my life living in illusions—books, movies, sleeping, dreaming, and fantasizing about weddings and babies. What was I doing with the precious present I had been given? Wasted it dreaming about the future.
Here (in mission) I am blessed because we have such a few escapes from reality—no TV, no movies, hardly any books, no Internet at home…
… Reality is the Lord. And reality is not hiding behind family or friends or books or movies or dreams. Reality is learning how to love. Reality is seeing the people around me through the eyes of God and loving them with His love. Reality is accepting suffering out of love, and not trying to avoid it. Reality is seeing all the ways the Lord is constantly trying to love me, and accepting them joyfully.”
If the Lord really is my Shepherd, I shall NOT want. It is only in the circumstances of the present moment that I can choose to meet Him, and be loved and satisfied by Him. But that means giving up the daydreams and embracing the reality of the ‘now’. Mother Teresa said, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is not yet here. We have only today. Let us begin.”
By Susanna De A.
I was tossing and turning, unable to sleep because of the mosquitoes and the sudden advent of summer. Suddenly the lights came on in the living room, and my dad poked his head in my bedroom. “We have a pope!” I jumped out of bed, and we switched on the TV. It was 7.30 pm in Rome, and midnight in India.
The excitement and anticipation in St. Peter’s Square was tangible even across the world, in our living room. My parents, brother, sister and I stared at the TV screen. “Who IS it?” We waited impatiently, as the BBC newscasters kept talking. I was so grateful for the respectful commentary, knowing that most people hear nothing but comments about ‘sex abuse scandals’, ‘a Church increasingly out of touch with the world’, ‘outdated institution’, etc.
Finally, an old Cardinal shakily walked into the balcony. “Is THAT him?” we asked, shocked. “No! He’s too old!” Yes, he was just announcing the new pope. Unfortunately, all the Latin we know is ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’ and ‘Kyrie, eleison’, so we didn’t do too well with the translation. All I heard was ‘Franciscus’. “He’s from France! Oh no, a European!” Latin fail. Thankfully, the BBC newscaster immediately told us what was going on. (Many people in the crowd had no idea even after it was all over.) “It’s Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina!”
They were all in shock—he was too old, it happened too fast, etc. Whatever. We didn’t care! We had a Pope! Habemus Papam! Still, we stared at him with eagle eyes, trying to get clues about what he was like. As our new Pope spoke, we were charmed by his comfortable speaking style (he had seemed rather stiff before he started talking, but according to my mum he was taking it all in, and thinking about what he should say.) And when he asked us to pray for him, and bowed his head, I had tears in my eyes as I prayed. A moment of closeness with our new father.
Anyway, I would like to share three reasons I have a special connection with our new Santo Papa.
1.) A few days before the election, my family was praying for the new Pope. Each one prayed for what they thought was important. They rolled their eyes as I prayed for a Pope with a sense of humour. I thought it would help the world relate to him. Oh yeah! Meet Pope Francis who told the Cardinals “I hope God forgives you” (for electing him), and while talking about a book written by one of the Cardinals, “That book has done me so much good, but don’t think I’m trying to make publicity of my cardinals!” You are all very welcome. That was me.
2.) More than a month ago I was asked to prepare a weekly intercessory list for a Lenten activity for the members of the Catholic covenant community that my family belongs to. I was supposed to look at the readings of the week, and write intentions based on them. This is what I wrote for this week: ‘We pray this week for a willingness to share in the suffering of Jesus.
We pray for an attitude of empathy and compassion with those who are suffering, especially the sick, the poor, the aged and the lonely.’ Pope Francis in his homily at his Inaugural Mass said “Being a protector (like St. Joseph)… means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about.”
3.) Last night I gave my newsletter from January to a friend. (Yes, two months late.) As he read it, he said, “This reminds me of what Pope Francis said.” I looked at what I had written: ‘Jesus called us to love, serve, and be one with ‘the least of his brethren’—the poor, the weak, the ignored, the unfashionable, the unimportant. Like Jesus, we choose ‘downward mobility’ rather than the world’s way of ‘upward mobility’. It is so easy to stick with our own social group, the people who are ‘like’ us.
But that was not the way of Jesus. He especially befriended the ones who others shunned. The Lord called me to leave my comfort zone, and see people with new eyes- His eyes.’ Pope Francis had said in his homily, “(The Pope) must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison.” Pope Francis and I are in tune with the same Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis is mine, and Pope Francis is ours. In the U.S., in India, in Rome, we are one, united not just around our TV screens and collective excitement, but one in the Body of Christ, united around the Eucharistic table. The Lord has sent Pope Francis to us at this particular moment in history for a reason. As we switch off our TVs, and finish reading all the blog posts and commentaries about Pope Francis, let’s get back to our lives with a new love and faithfulness to our Lord and His Church, and a greater attentiveness to the Holy Spirit’s direction for our lives.
By Susanna De A.