Since the announcement by Pope Benedict XVI, that he would resign the office of Bishop of Rome on the 28th of February, people everywhere have awaited the election of a new pope. On March 13 the wait ended. With a feel of spring in the air, after a long winter, we welcomed our new Holy Father, Pope Francis. The name Francis recalls St. Francis Xavier, and St. Francis of Assisi. Both of these men valued an intense relationship with Jesus, and compassion for the poor. While the election of our new pope may have caught many people by surprise, it should not surprise us, that the cardinals of the church chose a deeply spiritual and humble pastor to lead us through the winter of the church to a new spring of evangelization and holiness. After the example of Jesus, who was meek and humble of heart, and who took upon himself the sins of the world, our new shepherd will lead us from death to new life. This is because Christianity is not a political movement but a personal relationship with the risen Lord Jesus. Conformed to his image and likeness, we are able to reach out to those who are in need and who find life burdensome. St. Francis of Assisi once said, “preach the gospel, and when necessary use words”. Our new pope, through the humble example of his own life, will be such a preacher.
Like the women who go to the tomb of Jesus early in the morning, on the first day of week, we, like them, ask who will role back the stone for us.The one who no tomb could hold will role back the stone that blocks our way in this world. Together with Pope Francis, we will, through our faith in the risen Jesus, like Thomas in the upper room, hear Jesus say to us, be not unbelieving, but believe.
A blessed Easter and springtime to all you, as we continue our faith journey during this Year of Faith.