Monday, December 16, 2013


What kind of “Body of Christ” do we need to be, to be a credible (and creditable) Body of Christ?  It’s hard to think of anyone giving a better witness and lead in this direction, now, than Pope Francis.

His Christ-like embrace of the poor and ministry to the poor is not only something that flows from his spirituality and identity (it’s nothing appliqued).  It is marked by creativity and thoughtfulness.  Most recently, the Holy Father has sent off a “small Christmas gift” of two thousand envelopes to be distributed by volunteers to the poor of Rome.  The distribution centers, it was reported, are the places where Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity do their ministry.  That means their international mother-house on the edge of the Circus Maximus, at San Gregorio Magno; and their outpost alongside the Vatican’s offices for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (the Holy Office), just to the left and outside the colonnade of the piazza of St Peter’s.  What is in those envelopes?

The poor will receive a one-day pass on the City’s Metro (subway) system, and a phone card; the envelopes will be stamped, so that they can be used by the recipients to mail letters; and they will have a Christmas card signed by Pope Francis—expressing his solidarity.

Does he roam the streets around St Peter’s at night, to help the poor?  No.  But does his special emissary in charity, Abp Konrad Krajewski, do so, down the Via della Conciliazione where many of the homeless poor spend the night?  Yes, he does.
Creativity in mercy is a powerful way to show the love of Jesus Christ. 
Why be a Christian?  It is because we are utterly convinced of the reality of the Resurrection which validates the ministry and message of Jesus.
How be a Christian?  Engage in the virtue of active love/forgiveness/reconciliation of others.  How much more clearly do we need to be told, beyond the parable of sheep and goats (Matt 25:31-46)?

To these seven “corporal works of mercy” the Church has since added seven “spiritual ones.”  Check out all fourteen!!

Not everyone can do all fourteen, but every Christian must do some, and the Church must regularly engage in them all and be known and seen to do so.  This I not self-aggrandizement; it is the command of the Lord (Matt 5:16) to let the light shine.  It’s not all about “me”—it’s all about Him.  It’s about faith working in love (Gal 5:6), or, if you prefer, “walking the talk.”

And Pope Francis knows this better than most.


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