My September 27, 2015 sermon in 700 words, thinking about Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. (lots more here):
Did ya get your "pope on" this week?
Here he comes, the leader of over 1 billion Roman Catholics at a time of extraordinary change.
Here he comes, shifting the tone and in some cases even the content of his church's social witness.
And here he comes, inviting us all to a new engagement with the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed.
Whatever one thinks of specific things he says or does, one cannot deny his impact. Religious and non-religious alike seem fascinated.
Here's one thing I see in all of this: I think that religious or not, we are so thirsty in our culture for words of moral weight that are uplifting and not downgrading, that promote peace and offer hope. We're so thirsty for words that lift us into something more important than who wins and who loses and that give a reason to want more for ourselves and for each other than what the latest commercials tell us we should want. We're so thirsty for careful thought that goes deeper than the pre-processed, politically obsessed, and emotionally manipulative entertainment that so often passes these days for public conversation about things that really matter.
In the end, he uses these kinds of words to call us to a new vision of sacrifice, both for each other and for the greater good—for the health of families, for people who are excluded, for the young in all that they face—no matter their color, their citizenship, their wealth or their potential.
And so here I make my own appeal: Isn't this vision what each one of us, deep inside, really want—even if we don't know how to talk about it or how it always works? No matter our circumstance or station, don't we want to live a noble life, to live for something greater than ourselves, and to bring our families or others we love into that kind of living?
We owe that joy to each other, don't you think?
We certainly owe that joy to our children. We owe them a faith that is about more than refuge. We owe them a faith that is about adventure, about a love that's worth giving their lives to.
In one of his homilies this week, Francis said this: "Every Christian man and woman, by virtue of baptism has received a mission. Each one of us needs to respond as best we can. . . . What about you?" What about you?