This is a time in our history where it is certainly easy to be cynical. We face so many challenges as a country and a world. I was grateful to a parishioner who let me know that in Assissi Pope Francis was meeting with young entrepreneurs, economists, and leaders to seek a better future, an economy that lifts up everyone especially the poor and vulnerable. This reminded me to not just look at the problems, but to seek solutions for what we are facing today. I was truly inspired by these young adult leaders. They give me great hope for our future. I am reminded of the words from Bobby Kennedy, “Some people look at things as they are and ask why, I dream dreams that never were and ask why not..” May we dream a better future for humanity. I believe it is always important as pastor to dialogue with folks in the pews to get a pulse on where people are at and how to best minister. Reflecting on Matthew 25 and Francis’ gathering of young adults, here is a summary of notes from their discussion that a parishioner put together that I believe is worth our consideration.
This Sunday’s Gospel is so well known in the Christian community and beyond. It expresses the very heart and spirit of discipleship: Relationship to God unfolds in care for the needy among us. That is truly a faith-filled loving kindness as personified in Jesus Christ. Those clearly stated parts of relationships in today’s Gospel get right to the essentials of caring relationships — these embrace the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned because their well-being is tied to our well-being. We are forever responsible together for building up and co-creating the goodness at the heart of life from beginning to end, including everyone, sharing with everyone, welcoming the least among us to the table of plenty. That faith-filled measure is tied to justice, the logic of love overriding the diminished goals of individualistic concerns.
In today’s fragmented and sorely challenged world, the Gospel message speaks to the nations, to collective humanity, and to each part of the greater community by showing the way of our caring God towards all our brokenness. In the same vein, Pope Francis chose these last few days of the liturgical year to listen to young leaders from across the world about their vision for a more just economic order for all peoples. He had asked in 2019 for economists and young people to work with the need for a different kind of economy, one that is more attentive to the weakest members of society and is not focused exclusively on the gain of material wealth. Check out the conversations at: https://francescoeconomy.org/.
What better way to be thankful, to be grateful for all who inspire us in caring for each other, for our global community and Common Home as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, St Francis, Pope Francis and all our own St Agnes supporting and caring sisters and brothers.