Que Viva el Papa! I know you won't mind that I interrupt our little series on the Apostles Creed this week to speak about our new Pope! Brothers, all I can say is wow! The Holy Spirit loves to surprise us and He’s done it again by choosing the first Jesuit pope; the first pope from the Western Hemisphere; and, dare I say most importantly, the first pope named after St. Francis of Assisi! In a sense, all Catholics are Franciscan now and are invited to join Pope Francis in rebuilding the Church through the radical living of the gospel!
Continuing where Pope Benedict XVI left off, the Pope wasted no time in showing us where true and lasting renewal comes from: Our Savior Jesus Christ! Renewal is not a fruit of our own effort, but is a fruit of proclaiming Christ crucified and allowing Him to live in us!
The day after his election he proclaimed: “…We can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail. We will become a pitiful NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of Christ… When one does not build on solid rocks, what happens? What happens is what happens to children on the beach when they make sandcastles: everything collapses, it is without consistency…. When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil…. When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly; we are bishops, priests, cardinals, Popes, but not disciples of the Lord. I would like that all of us, after these days of grace, might have the courage to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the Cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ Crucified!”
Brothers, now is a great time to be a Franciscan—to be a witness to the individual, communal and Church-wide renewal that living the gospel brings! Whether we are called to don the Franciscan habit or not, all of us can heed Pope Francis’ call to rebuild the Church by embracing Christ crucified and allowing Him to rebuild us! What a blessed time to be a Franciscan! What a blessed time to be a Catholic! God bless you all!
Pax et bonum!
Fr. Isaac Mary Spinharney, CFR
St. Joseph Friary