Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pope Francis Emotion and Evangelism

I was absolutely exhuberant when I first learnt that we had a Pope. It was a different feeling than when Pope Benedict was chosen. I had grieved John Paul the Great, but Benedict's resignation took that part of the process away. This time the circumstances were sad but not heart breaking. This time I could focus on the joy of God reinforcing that He is taking care of His Church.

We have a rare opportunity to evangelize with Pope Francis. First its the simple fact that everyone outlet has been talking about him. Second his humilty and focus on the poor will stand in sharp contrast to our materialist culture and our selfish desires. Finally the way he is already being attacked by enemies of Christianity will help draw all Christians together.

On Thursday night we ordered a Pizza, as we were waiting my best friend struck up a conversation with a guy playing with his smart phone. The conversation went something like this:
Best Friend Forever: "We Have a Pope!"
Smart Phone Guy: "I've Heard a Rumour"
Random 50 year old guy: "He'll have a hard time fill John Paul's shoes"
SPG "Yeah"
R50 "He took us forward. The last pope took us back. Did you know he said that not recycling is a venial sin?"
BFF "Yeah but you only need to confess the mortal ones"
R50 "Still John Paul was the greatest pope ever. People think Reagan won the Cold War but it was really John Paul"
SPG "I'll agree that he was the greatest pope of the modern era, but I've been doing some reading a lot of the popes have done some pretty amazing things . . ."
Pizza Kid "Can I help you?"
Me "I'm here to pick up a gluten free, non dairy pizza with anchovies"
PK "Here, that'll be $12"
BFF "We have a Pope!"
PK "Huh?"
As we left R50 and Smart Phone guy were still in a deep conversation. Maybe we'll see them at Mass today . . .

On the second point Ashley McGuire wrote an excellent post about how Pope Francis will likely smash the over simplified left/right labels proving that you can uphold Catholic Moral teaching AND love the the poor and marginalized:
Pope Francis, meet a generation of young Catholics longing for you. Longing for someone to show us in the most tangible of ways that the Catholic Church defends the most vulnerable among us, be they in their mother’s womb or hungry in the streets.

Meet a generation of Protestants looking to see Catholics assure them that our faith is first and foremost about Jesus Christ.
She's right that this witness will speak volumes to the largely unchurched culture that we live in.
The silliness of the mainstream media - working to dig up dirt on day 1 of Francis' papacy -will also help unify all Christians. Even before the cardinals made their decsision. The evangelical magazine Christianity Today noted:
Whether we Protestants like to admit it or not, though, there is a single person in Rome who can influence Christians of every stripe to work more heartily in the cause of Christ, sometimes together (even with Catholics) and sometimes faithfully in their own theological tradition. That's why even non-Catholics are praying fervently for the new pope. Given the monumental challenges of the 21st century, it is more important than ever that Protestants and Catholics figure out how to work together.
The humility of Pope Francis should provide just such an opportunity.


Sarah said...

Amen Patrick! We've talked of nothing else for the last 5 days.

Anonymous said...

I hope he defends the church and christianity against the attacks by Muslims.

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