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Pope Francis Brings Hope & Healing Message to World Meeting

Pope Francis WMOF

Pope Francis, the vicar of Christ, is evangelizing the world through his authentic witness of love.  He is on a mission of love and it appears that there is healing taking place in Cuba through his meetings with the Castro family.  No doubt there will be a spill over effect to the United States upon his arrival at the World Meeting this Saturday September 26th.

What will he say to the United States Congress, President Obama, the United Nations and the many families that will be gathered in Philadelphia?  I am not sure, but one thing is for certain, it will be authentically rooted in his genuine love for all mankind and his desire to bring peace and hope to troubled lands.  His words to the Cuban government, “Serve people not ideas” is a message of healing.  It is Christ’s message to his apostles: “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

And so the servant of servants comes to the US.  Pope Francis brings Christ’s love to the world through his very unique gifts and perspective through his Latin American roots.  His first stop while in Philadelphia will be with prisoners.  That sounds right doesn’t it?  His famous words to the pastors of the Catholic Church “Smell like your sheep” rings true with this papal prison visit.  What will it be like for those in that Philadelphia prison when Francis enters their maximum security confines?  What will he say?  Those who cannot participate in the World Meeting of Families due to their own poor choices, criminal mischief and downright deviant behavior get a papal audience.  How does that make any sense? “[Christ] did not come to call the righteous, but sinners”  (Matthew 9:13).  Yes, it makes perfect sense.  Pope Francis, is another Christ.

As I write, I am reminded of what Cardinal Timothy Dolan said prior to heading over to Rome for the conclave.  He was asked by a reporter how he was going to select the next pope.  He said, “I am going to pick the person who most resembles Jesus.”  Well said your Eminence.  Indeed Pope Francis, is walking the walk of Christ.

Pope Francis with down syndromeHis words and actions are at times unsettling, but isn’t that also like Christ?  Recall the words of his own disciples after hearing the Bread of Life discourse.  “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” (John 6:60)  It is said that a third of his disciples fell away from Christ that day.  A third!  Can you imagine that?  One of them was believed to have been St. Mark the evangelist.

I believe there are many today who don’t like Pope Francis’s style and manner of sharing the love of Christ.  Certainly the naysayers are all lining up for the upcoming Synod in Rome.  But it is clear to me that Pope Francis is speaking and acting in very similar ways as Christ did 2000 years.  His sayings are hard and people don’t often like what he has to say.  He makes people uncomfortable.  The truth is usually uncomfortable.

Whatever nuggets of wisdom the Pope shares with the world and the people of the United States, you can bet that it will be packaged with love and there will be great hope inside his message.  As Christ’s truth is revealed through His chosen instrument to lead His Church at this troubled time, you can guarantee that healing will be a fruit of his time in the United States.

Yours in Christ’s healing love,

Mark Houck