Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bringing Hope & Joy to Harlem & Philadelphia-Pope Francis Keeps Getting Cooler

Pope Francis continues to rock this nation, and I couldn't be happier about it! So let's talk about it! I have been out and about Oklahoma City for much of yesterday and today, so I haven't been able to watch the live streams, but-thankfully-the text of his talks are all available! This afternoon, after a morning of  shopping at an outdoor vintage market (can I call this "vintaging"?), I just want to reflect on some of the pope's recent awesome activities. 
Yesterday afternoon, Pope Francis visited Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem. So precious!!!! I love when the little children are showing Pope Francis their school projects on the environment. Oh, and when a teenager snaps a selfie with the pope-that's pretty legit!  

Pope Francis spoke at this school, and his address was filled with hope, joy, and love. He talked about working to achieve dreams, and finding a big family at school. By far, my favorite part of his speech came at the end. Laughing, Pope Francis mentioned that he had "homework" for all present: "Please don't forget to pray for me, so that I can share with many people the joy of Jesus." What a humble, holy, wonderful man! 

On Friday evening, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Madison Square Garden, and he gave such a great homily! Full of encouragement and hope, the pope's words really hit me. Not shying away from the Truth, he told us what Jesus has said repeatedly in the Gospels: Go! 
"Go out to others and share the good news that God, our Father, walks at our side. He frees us from anonymity, from a life of emptiness, and brings us to the school of encounter. He removes us from the fray of competition and self-absorption, and he opens before us the path of peace. That peace which is born of accepting others, that peace which fills our hearts whenever we look upon those in need as our brothers and sisters. God is living in our cities. The Church is living in our cities. God and the Church living in our cities want to be like yeast in the dough, to relate to everyone, to stand at everyone’s side, proclaiming the marvels of the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Eternal Father, the Prince of Peace. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”. And we, as Christians, are witnesses to this."
Even in the darkest times, even in the harshest circumstances, we have seen the Light of Christ-and we need to bring this light and joy to others! Pope Francis' words are so full of joy, and he continues to be super blunt. We cannot live in self-absorption and self-interest, because we need to go out and proclaim the wonders of God's love! This is our mission. 
Giving the homily during Saturday's Mass in Philadelphia!

Pope Francis continued on this theme in his homily today, during Mass in Philadelphia. He spoke about St. Katherine Drexel (who I love!! She's really cool!), and her incredible service and missionary zeal: 
"Most of you know the story of Saint Katharine Drexel, one of the great saints raised up by this local Church. When she spoke to Pope Leo XIII of the needs of the missions, the Pope – he was a very wise Pope! – asked her pointedly: “What about you? What are you going to do?”. Those words changed Katharine’s life, because they reminded her that, in the end, every Christian man and woman, by virtue of baptism, has received a mission. Each one of us has to respond, as best we can, to the Lord’s call to build up his Body, the Church."
Pope Francis continues to speak God's Truth in his words and actions. He is showing us that we cannot be complacent and simply go through our Catholic lives routinely. Instead, he is empowering us to listen to our baptismal call and the words of Christ to go out! This has been consistently taught in the Church since its beginnings, but so many times we forget this. Ask God for the grace, strength, and courage to listen to His call, and to accept our mission. Please continue to pray for Pope Francis as he prepares to speak in Independence Hall and then visits the Meeting of Families! 

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