Saturday, November 16, 2013

33 Sunday of Ordinary Time

You Need Not Ask:  You Are A Child of God

Let me begin my words to you with a perception of Pope Francis I have gained during the last few weeks.  Clearly this man has given the Church, indeed the whole world, a new experience of Church leadership.  What is genuinely real is that this man has spoken about himself with great humility:  I am a sinner.  His statement is much more meaningful than when we have heard those same words from other leaders.  For me, however, what is more significant, very different from almost all of his predecessors is this:  Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome, a sinner, speaks with a "dogmatic certainty  about each of us regardless of the linguistic accents that might differentiate us from one another, regardless of the color of one's skin that houses our very essence, regardless of personal status or possessions."  Francis the man believes with all his heart, mind and soul that "God is in every person's life ... even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else -- God is in this person's life."  "You can, you must try to seek God in every human life."

I share these thought about this new Bishop of Rome because the words in Luke's gospel today (Lk 21:5-19) this next to the last Sunday of Ordinary Time of our Church calendar speak about how Jesus' disciples and even many of us today look upon things such as magnificent temples or basilicas as structures that will last forever.  It is genuine human folly to believe that that what is in its own essence ephemeral will be standing forever.  But, I believe, what Pope Francis is teaching especially to our Church's leadership as well as each of us that we must not anchor our ultimate faith in what cannot endure forever except that reality that God is in every person we meet.  As long as there is a beating heart in any man, woman or young person, God is present in that person.

Like the apostles in today's gospel there is something that instigates human inquisitiveness:  we want to know about what is unknown.  There are so many experiences we have in our lives that elicit questions.  Already this year our young people are want to know when Santa Claus is coming and what are the gifts he will be bringing.  Adults want to know when the financial crises of our times will end.  Those men and women, who have come to this country and are the source of labor in so many occupations many citizens don't want, these people who, like ourselves, have God within their very being.  They hope and pray that our government will soon grant them citizenship but now feel forced to ask "When?"  Other adults who are forced to live on the periphery of our society because they are poor or because they may have some-sex attractions, these men and women are asking when societal exclusions that impact their lives be ended.  All we really need to know and believe are these two realities: (1) each of us, like monuments that fall and are shattered into dust, each of us will face the call from God that ends this earthly life.  "But when?"  (2) Each of us is a child of God, no different from anyone else who will at the end of our lives meet the God Jesus has taught us to love as He loves us.  It is the God who will bring us to his kingdom where we will then live eternally.  Likewise each of us is and will be forever God's child, his creation.