March 11, 2016 – Friday in the 4th Week of Lent

Note: just to let you know that these Scratchpad Reflections are ordinarily prepared the evening before the date of publication and this time I was later than usual and went back and found one from 2013. The attraction to re-print it was due to the comments about the – then, newly elected, Pope Francis. Since it fit in so well with today’s readings I decided to give it a second run and give you another chance to remember our Pope as he strives to live out words of our Holy Gospel. Here’s what I wrote back in 2013.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… to preach good news to the poor … release to captives … sight to the blind … liberty those oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)

 Excuse me if I divert a little today. But you’ve often heard me use the phrase, “be here now,” referring that this is the moment of salvation and I can’t help be share my reflections on our new Pope Francis. Even though the term, “Vicar of Christ” isn’t much promoted these days we still hold it as truth even to this day.

From the very first sight of our new Pope coming out on the balcony of St. Peters dressed simply in a white cassock and humbly bowing as he asked the people in the square below to silently pray for him I said to myself, “this is a man who is going to have a hard time” and be criticized by many of those who have become comfortable in the positions that they have enjoyed. He, like Jesus, is going to ask all of us to look closely at our lives and bring them into sinc with the quote above.

I’m sure that many of the cardinals in the conclave knew that this Cardinal from Argentina chose to live in an apartment, cook for himself and take the bus to work! I heard that there was a saying in Argentina, “if you need to talk to the Cardinal just get on the bus with him in the morning!

The scriptures for today’s liturgy seem to be divinely inspiried in the sense that the powers that were – in the time of Jesus – were so challenged by his words that they thought for sure he couldn’t be from God. I’m sure that many aids, monsignori cardinals and others are going to have to find other jobs as this pope seems to be able to get around on his own.

I heard, yesterday, that he went to one of Rome’s Basilicals for his morning prayers and then went across the street to a school to greet the students and teachers and those on their way to work. Afterwards, he went back to the hotel where he had been staying before the conclave began to pay the bill and thank the staff! Imagine!

Let our prayer today, be for God’s abundant grace to protect our new Pope and give him all the grace he needs to live as the Vicar of Christ and fulfill that quote above. Amen!

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