Peace be with you!
The followers of Jesus came to believe that he was the Messiah, the one for whom they waited, and in whom they hoped. Jesus embodied God’s mercy and justice, a reign of unconditional inclusive love, on earth as it is in heaven. Scriptures tell us that at the discovery of the empty tomb, the women ran from the tomb with fear and great joy; they were alarmed; as they fled terror and amazement seized them. When the Resurrected Christ appeared to his disciples in the upper room, they were startled and terrified. In the midst of wonder, anxiety and fear, Christ’s greeting was one of peace, “Peace be with you!”
Over the past few weeks, members of our Church have experienced a flood of emotions with the resignation of our pope and the election of a new pope. For some it was the fear of losing what was known to the terror of possible change and an unknown future. For many the arrival of Pope Francis brought about excitement and joy, optimism and hope for the possibility of change. We hope for change from a dysfunctional system to healthy Church leadership following the Gospel more closely.
Peace be with you!
As we blessed Pope Francis and experienced his simplicity during those first days, we began to hear the raising cry of criticism of the man. Cynics claimed that his simplicity and his chosen name were just a way to manipulate us, and that he was not authentic in advocating for the poor. Assumptions were made that he will not bring about any change, and the Church will remain rigid in its doctrines. Could this criticism be based upon fear? Are we who had the Spirit of Vatican II stolen from us afraid to hope? Does it hurt so deeply that we can’t take a chance of being let down one more time? Yes, I believe we are living with that kind of fear.
Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.” “I am with you always, to the end of the ages.”
“Peace be with you!”
Just as the women and men who walked with Jesus had to trust in his Word, we too must trust. In time, Pentecost came. Filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit the disciples went out from the upper room and literally changed the world. We too must wait for a while in the upper room. We must prayerfully wait and watch as we let Pope Francis lead the Church. In time, the embers of Vatican II will burst into flames and the fire of the Spirit will burn brightly in our Church. We must not be afraid to hope.
Christ is risen. Alleluia!
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia! Peace be with you!
In joy and hope, +Joan
Pope Francis’ General Audience on Wednesday, March 27, 2013:
He [Jesus] led all to the presence of God, who is interested in every man and woman, like a good father and a good mother is interested in each child.
Pope Francis’ Homily at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, March 28, 2013:
A good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed. This is a clear test. When our people are anointed with the oil of gladness, it is obvious: for example, when they leave Mass looking as if they have heard good news. Our people like to hear the Gospel preached with “unction”, they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives, when it runs down like the oil of Aaron to the edges of reality, when it brings light to moments of extreme darkness, to the “outskirts” where people of faith are most exposed to the onslaught of those who want to tear down their faith.