Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died?”
We know the answer to this question, and we know the response Jesus received for it. Yes, the Lord is greater than Abraham and all the prophets. In fact, He is even greater than death itself. And Abraham and all the prophets don’t mind at all. In fact, they actually “rejoiced to see my day.”
The day of the Lord. Yesterday, I read on my computer an article regarding the Holy Father. I scrolled down the page to the comments section and read the first comment: “The Pope is irrelevant.”
The Pope is irrelevant??? Obviously, only a weak, scared and threatened individual would write something like that. The Pope is not irrelevant, for He is relevant to me and to hundreds of millions of people around the world. I was about to write a clever response to this individual regarding who is relevant and who is not, but then I remembered Pope Francis’ words the other day and concluded that even this individual is relevant, for hopefully he is relevant to his mother.
How ironic! The Holy Father, since the start of his ministry, has been insisting on respecting all human beings, especially the weak, the poor and the marginalized. He has been insisting that we are all relevant, regardless of how much power, money and Facebook friends we have. To claim he is irrelevant would mean his message is irrelevant.
But maybe this person is right, for in a world in which human beings make billions of dollars exploiting other human beings, it may very well be true that the Holy Father is extending a hand out to people who would prefer to chop it off or slap it away.
Well, about an hour after I read this I got into my car and headed to meet someone for lunch. As I was driving, I received a phone call from a woman I have known for a few years. She told me she made a big decision today. I asked her what it was. She said she finally decided to become Catholic. I couldn’t believe it! I asked, “May I ask you what made you decide?” She said it was the example of Pope Francis. Wow! I couldn’t believe it. But then she blew my mind away with what she said next: “And the Cardinals who elected Him. You see, it must have been the work of the Holy Spirit. How else could they have elected someone unlike them?”
Talk about being relevant, and from thousands of miles away. It’s one thing to switch political parties. It’s another thing to change religions! That’s one giant step for anyone.
The Lord has been relevant in my life for years. I can’t believe the changes He influenced in my life. I left my family and career to follow Him. I left my country and belongings to follow Him. I left my plans and dreams to follow Him. And it’s all been amazing!
But I must also say that even Pope Francis has begun to impact me as well. Ever since he introduced himself to the world from St. Peter’s, I have been preaching more and more about creation, love, mercy, forgiveness and compassion. This man’s holiness, simplicity and humility are a magnet to bringing people together. Who else in the world could bring a leftist President (Rafael Correa, from Ecuador), a dictator (Robert Mugabe, from Zimbabwe), Vice-President Joe Biden and former speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi from the USA all together in Rome for a Mass? Who else could bring the leaders or representatives of various religions (Muslim, Hindu, etc…), including for the first time ever the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Chief Rabbi of Rome to Rome for his inauguration? Who are the relevant? The ones who show the greatest love and attract others to love!
Who else in the world today could bring so many people of different languages, religions and cultures to one place, even to Rome?
I know for a fact that I would not be the man I am today if it were not for my Catholic Faith. I still have a long way to go, but I know I’m going in the right direction (as long as I don’t turn back!).
A young man who recently converted to Catholicism told me that many of his business partners are asking him why he converted. He told me he didn’t know how to answer this question in just a few minutes. I told him, “Well, tell them the truth. Tell them that your faith in Jesus Christ has changed the way you live your life.”
Resolution: Be relevant, especially with the weak, the marginalized, the poor and the unbelieving. Share your faith, your hope and your love with others today.