The Pope

I was moved as I watched the President, leader of our great country, along with his gracious wife warmly greet Pope Francis, leader of the universal Catholic Church. I am Christian but not Catholic. No matter, the Pope represents so many Christians. This pope in particular is warmly loved. The only other living Christian leader, I think, who would represent as many would be the Reverend Billy Graham. I was moved enough to take a picture of the two leaders standing together on the White House back lawn with the banner below them on the TV and “Live” in the corner of the screen. TVs now are so clear the picture was worth taking. I have only done this once before and it was of the American flag flying over the American Embassy in Cuba. Two examples of history happening before our eyes.

The Pope continued on to New York where he led a prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. When he stopped to personally greet the young woman in front sitting in a wheelchair, he could have been touching and, I’m certain, blessing me – or any other with a handicap. He went on to address the leaders of the world at the UN. Next, the agenda was a visit to Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, for a celebration of families and another mass. Again, he literally stopped the motorcade to personally approach and bless a young man in a wheelchair and his caregiver mother.

This week is moving to me because it makes me pause and give thanks for being able to live in Harrisburg for over a decade where we could make yearly, if not more frequent, visits to the Mall in DC, The Big Apple, and Philly. It was like old home week in many ways because each scene was familiar and loved.

But, mostly this was moving because of the message the Pope shared. There was none of the political correctness, hedging, bickering, or undercutting we have unfortunately come to associate with political leaders. Here was a man who spoke of love and caring and humaneness. He didn’t mince words but so kindly and respectfully challenged our leaders, and us, to care for the poor [Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done. Prov. 19:17, NIV], care for the Syrian refugees [The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40], work for peace [Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9], attend to arms control and gun control [You shall not murder. Gen. 20:13], and care for our earth [The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Gen 2:15]. The Pope demonstrated grace, a gift unique to the Christian faith. Police along the route noted that the vast crowds were peaceful, orderly, and joyful, calling it the Pope effect. Watching the visit and the conversations with world leaders made me feel like I was looking at a much larger picture while at the same time feeling very important for the scheme of it all.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance [Psalm 33:12]. President Obama, are you listening? Congress, Governors, & Mayors, are you listening? Republicans and Democrats, are you listening? United Nations representatives, are you listing? Fellow humans, are you listening? Collene, are you listening?

Didn’t it feel wonderful to hear the Pope say, “God, bless America”?

Shalom, Collene


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. debbidoo1
    Sep 29, 2015 @ 11:33:28

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This pope has made a lot of people stop and think, since he was elected. He is different and very much a pope of the people. He touches people of all faiths and speaks to our commonality rather than our differences. He is a fascinating leader, for sure. We could all learn from him.



  2. Elly
    Sep 29, 2015 @ 21:16:43

    Yes, it was wonderful. I never heard “God bless America” in quite the same way as when Pope Francis said those words. Thank you for your consistently beautiful observations.



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