This week our Catholic world and entire nation was captivated by the visit of Pope Francis. I was moved to tears as I watched the Holy Father arrive in our nation’s capital. I am proud to be Catholic and immensely honored to be a part of this historical and spiritual event in our country. That morning before coming to work, I continued to watch the unfolding of the events surrounding his visit. President Obama spoke eloquently and sincerely as he welcomed Pope Francis and the Holy Father returned that welcome with words of praise and thanks for the hospitality shown.
In reflecting on the Gospel passage from Luke 9:46-50 where Jesus reminds us once again to be conscious of those who do not enjoy the life that we do in these words:
“Whoever receives this child in my name received me,
And whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
Is the one who is the greatest.”
The message Pope Francis gives over and over again is also the message Jesus gave to his disciples and gives to us today. We are blessed to have a religious leader who emulates the Gospel and challenges us to do the same. The disciples seemed to be all caught up in external trappings of power and control, who is going to be first, who is the one Jesus likes the best, etc. Children were given little status or attention in the time of Jesus. When Jesus challenges us to welcome the little children among us, he is calling us to look beyond positions of power and control, beyond our drive to be rich and famous, and our preoccupation with being number one and thinking that ‘it’s all about me.’
May we all take seriously the message of Jesus that Pope Francis delivered this past week. May we recommit ourselves to looking beyond our needs and focus on the less fortunate, the hungry, the poor, the homeless, the immigrant and refugees at our doors. May we tear down the barriers of race, color, creed and gender and concentrate on the least in our very midst.
May the events of this week lead us to be people of faith and action!. God Bless America and God Bless our Church!
Theresa Secord is a Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.