True success is far more than more power, prestige and money. True success must include significance. And to be significant we must live lives of active compassion. We must love others even as Christ has first loved us.
Great and gracious Creator, we take time this morning to offer you our praise and thanks for a night of rest and yet another beautiful day filled with your grace and beauty. Your abiding presence in our lives brings a peace that passes all understanding, and we begin the day knowing we have nothing to fear. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from your eternal love.
Grant us your mercy today. Grant us your wisdom today. Grant us the ability and the desire to walk humbly with you, extending a healing touch to all those we meet. Grant us the strength to bring a word of peace and reconciliation to every person we encounter today.
And Master, please empower each of us today with your Holy Spirit. Grant us a vision of your kingdom, and then guide us in the most positive ways to use the power we have been given to transform the world into your kingdom, a kingdom where justice reigns for all.
Grant that we might make friends with those most in need of your love and provision, and may we see you in the face of every hungry person we meet. Amen and Amen
Jesus wasn’t crucified for telling his listeners to consider the lilies and how they grow. He was nailed to the cross for pointing to the thieves and saying look how they steal. And the thieves to which he was pointing were the religious leaders who were most loudly proclaiming their religiosity.
Jesus was crucified because he was threatening the established religious order. The religious leaders in Jerusalem encouraged the Roman government to take care of the growing menace Jesus posed to their control of the faithful. Jesus was drawing far too much attention to the disparity between their sanctimonious proclamations and the ugly reality of their lifestyles. He had to be silenced.
The Romans pulled the trigger. But it was the religious leaders that pointed the gun.
All of that is to say that I am praying daily for Pope Francis. He continues to demonstrate true prophetic courage in addressing the critical issues of our day. And there is true danger in that.
The Pope’s humility is real, but so is his call for change. George Weigel, a conservative Catholic, recently wrote that, “Pope Francis is a revolutionary. The revolution he proposes, however, is not a matter of economic or political prescription, but a revolution in the self-understanding of the Catholic Church.”
I disagree. Pope Francis is definitely working to clean out the thieves from the temple and put the Catholic Church back into order. But, he has also demonstrated he is committed to living out the gospel of Jesus Christ, not just mouthing platitudes.
Pope Francis is addressing the economic inequities of our world and he is doing it in a manner that points a finger at those in positions of power. He is truly showing preferential treatment towards the poor, the weak and the dispossessed. Such prophetic faithfulness is powerful. It is also imminently dangerous. It was in Jerusalem. And it certainly is in Rome.