1 Timothy 6:13-16
After saying this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” Then his disciples asked him what the meaning of this parable might be. He answered, “Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you. Luke 8: 8 -10
During these last few weeks, the Gospel according to Luke, which we have been reading at our daily Masses, has been given us glimpses of Jesus in ministry. It is a Jesus who teaches us the beatitudes, who heals on the Sabbath, who chooses his apostles and who forgives the public sinner. We see Jesus as his best. His is the Messiah, the Teacher, indeed, the Personification of the Mercy of God.
Jesus loves to teach in parables. Parables are very short stories that challenges us greatly. In each of these parables are insights that will open our eyes and hearts into the very being of God: the God who Loves, the God who Forgives, the God who Invites us into communion. We begin to see that there is no communion with God unless there is communion with our brothers and sisters, just because we all share the same God and Creator. By means of Jesus’ parables, we begin to understand more profoundly Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Savior of the world, Jesus, the Son of God!
Today, Pope Francis will land in Cuba and then continue on to the United States, and begin doing what Popes do: follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Pope Francis will preach. He will preach the Joy of the Gospel. He will say, as we heard a few days ago during one of the weekday Gospels, “Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.” (Luke 6:20) He will reach out to those with withered hands and hearts, and heal them. He will receive the public sinner and those whose holiness are only known to God, who knows all things in heaven and earth. He will talk in parables and we will not understand. He will speak plainly and we will still not understand. For “the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
As with Jesus, some people will love Pope Francis. His words will be filled with love, consolation and compassion. They will also be challenging, thought-provoking and stimulating. Thus, some people will not like him at all. The Pope’s message has already caused many to murmur and for some, even, to turn away.
The Pope will speak the words that he will need to speak. They will be words that will be written down and treasured for many years to come. There will also be words that will be pondered within our hearts as soon as they are spoken.
Let us open our hearts and minds to hear what is being said by Pope Francis. And let us pray daily for our brother, the Pope, Pope Francis. May we give him a warm and prayerful welcome.
Fr. Clemente Barrón, C.P. is a member of Christ the King Community in Citrus Heights, California.