Being like Jesus
In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24, one of the Pharisees asks Jesus, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
Jesus responds: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."
After writing Through the Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections, one of the most common questions I get is – What is it about Pope Francis? What makes him so effective, so influential, and so relevant?
I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes I forget that when Jesus says something, He really means it. Like when He says, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever,” He really means that. Or when He says, “Your sins are forgiven,” they actually are forgiven. It’s just so easy for me to forget that.
"How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been; how gloriously different are the saints."-C.S. Lewis
Men without heads, figuratively speaking, is a plague we are dealing with. I was one of them. I am trying to never be one again. On a positive note, we can fix this and get our heads back.
There is a legend from the Orient about a traveler making his way to a large city. One night he met two other travelers along the road: Fear and Plague. Plague explained to the traveler that, once they arrived, they expected to kill 10,000 people in the city. The traveler asked Plague if Plague would do all the killing. “Oh, no. I 'm only going to kill only a few hundred. My friend Fear will kill the others.”
Like bishops, each pope has a coat of arms and a motto. Benedict XVI’s motto was “Co-laborers in Truth,” Bl. John Paul II’s was “Totally Yours.” Pope Francis’ motto is Miserando atque Eligendo, “Lowly but Chosen.”
Every man longs to leave a legacy, to make a difference in the lives of others. What legacy has Pope Benedict left behind? What message has he left for us?
Eight years ago, the world cast him off as a shy, uptight rule enforcer. It doubted that young people could connect with a rapidly aging, theological conservative. It probably could’ve picked a dozen popes better for our liberal-minded, freethinking society than the 5’7” white-haired Cardinal Ratzinger. Well, needless to say, the world was wrong.
The former pope, Benedict XVI, is 85 years old. He is from Germany. His garb has been known to include red shoes, a giant gold cross, and a tiny hat. For the past eight years his entire life has been scheduled from daybreak to dark. His most recent gig was to shepherd a Church of nearly 1.2 billion people.
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Since the pontificates of Pope Paul VI and John Paul II, the Roman Catholic Church has been commissioned to engage and embrace the world with God's message of love once more with ‘new methods, new ardor and new expression.’ It has come to be phrased, 'the new evangelization.'
For FOCUS, this means meeting college students across the nation where they are and challenging them to examine the meaning and purpose of their lives. Through personal relationships and friendship, we offer college students the true peace and fulfillment they seek in the good news of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Catholic faith, inviting them to answer His calling in their lives.
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