The sound of a bomb
The screaming, the running
Boston cries as do I
For the senselessness of it all
God cries too
As he did at Lazurus’ grave
He does again for the little one taken too soon
For the others dead and injured.
He cries too that someone sins gravely
Does not value life, or perhaps is in too much pain themselves.
He cries but does not hate.
That is hard for us.
Hard to imagine loving a killer, a murderer.
He carefully planned this
And it sickens me beyond all health.
So I pray for peace
Peace in my heart
For my prayer for peace must start with me
With my moving towards peace and not hatred
Not more violence
Not more death
But a quiet justice
and a vision of God making all things new again.
It is a righteous anger that we all feel
But our response needs to come from a deeper place.
One that calls us into a better way of being.
A way that ends violence, or at least ends our thoughts of it.
Boston is often a sleepy city.
I have found it to be peaceful,
The harbor beckoning me to it’s boats
It’s Common calling me to sit and wonder at God’s creation all around.
It’s history reminding me of those who longed for peace, for freedom
So my prayer begins with me
For me to be changed
To bring me to a place of healing
So that I might help others heal
and they help others heal too.
That is God’s work
May we all be called to do it.
As the winter has subsided, making way for summer, my dog, Haze, has begun to enjoy the outdoors a bit more. He also has many human friends in the neighborhood. There’s an older man who sits in his beach chair in the warm months and offers him a dog treat or two. There’s a younger …View full post
Written at the Collegeville Institute as our prayer to describe where the spirit is moving in our communities with regards to their own vocation: Thank you God for calling me into this place For the courage to be who you have made me to be For the gifts I have that have gotten me to …View full post
So I just spent two glorious days at the Collegeville Institute in Minnesota, which is one of my all time favorite places. Whether the lovely setting, the St. John’s Abbey, the St. John’s Bible, the amazing people who work there and the groups they gathered to talk about Vocation in Communities, I can’t pick just …View full post
My erstwhile assistant, Christine Marino found this about an ad that displays two images, one for adults and another for children. Amazing. Let’s pray today for all victims of abuse, so we might better offer protection for them and for forgiveness and healing so that all may live in peace. Amen.View full post
So I often get a little down around the end of the semester. The students start to filter out and the campus seems barren. We give our students carepackages from the parish community to help them study during finals. That’s the first signal that the semester is ending. I was standing at the carepackage table …View full post
I’ve been quiet the last few days. I’ve been busy in general as the semester is beginning to wind down and a few other projects have ended up on my desk.
But I’ve mostly been quiet because I have taken some time to pray in the aftermath of the Boston Bombings. It brought back many memories of that horrible day of September 11th and I went through the same motions that I did that day in New York.
On September 11th I did a quick count of people who I knew worked downtown. Slowly they began to check in. I thought I had gotten out of the tragedy without knowing anyone who could have died.
Then 2 friends and a distant relative of my wife’s ended up to be among the dead.
Boston is a place that I have many friends. Between folks I know from the Paulist Center on Park Street to others who have happened to move there, I began my mental list. I started to cull facebook right away to see if people had posted on their whereabouts and sure enough many had.
Paulist Father Frank Desiderio was headed over the finish line to meet a friend who was in the race that he was tracking when he heard the first explosion on Boston Common. I continued to see other updates. Some people had been right near the site earlier in the day, but were nowhere near when the bombs went off.
After getting a text from a former spiritual directee who I hadn’t heard from in some time, I thought all was fine. I was still upset at the horror and still was sorrowful for the dead, the injured and I thought about those who got stopped before being able to finish what should have been a crowning achievement. While there were bigger concerns on the day than finishing a race, I felt bad for those who trained so hard only to be told that they were not going to finish–their only goal for the day.
Then I saw later in the day that my dear friend Donna sent me this note via facebook:
I am so proud of my sister-in-law who will be running the Boston Marathon for the first time on Monday. Send her blessings and lots of energy! She has trained hard and we will be there to see her cross the finish line.
I was just about to call when I saw an email:
We were enjoying the runners coming in as we were close to the finish line. All of a sudden there was a blast in the building across the street from us and the windows blew out, smoke everywhere. Within five seconds there was another blast in the building to the left of the first blast There was screaming and slight panic with people running off the bleachers. Immediately I was able to reach (a family member) who was still at the car (went to feed the meter). I told him what happened because he didn’t hear the blast He stayed with the car which was great because there was no more phone service. We knew that (another family member) was with his grandparents and eventually we made contact via texting and about ten minutes later we ran into them at a crossing walk. We were so happy to see them.
They found out later that all of her sister-in-law’s teammates were safe and had found their way home.
Wow! That was close. She was right there, right across the street from all of the horror. I kept thinking if she had come from the other direction she’d have been right there in the midst of it all.
Out of the chaos, can we find peace? Indeed it is difficult to do so. This reminds me so much of the Atlanta bombing at the Olympics, a place where people from all over the world come to compete in peace. Much like the Boston Marathon, peace was disrupted where there had once only been joy.
We are indeed far from the kingdom of God these days. Which means that we have to keep working hard for peace, for forgiveness, for love to prevail. We need no further to look than to the runners themselves, many who ran an extra two miles to donate blood.
The communion of saints ran in the streets of Boston with blood coursing in their veins pumped by a big beating heart for others. Blood poured out for others who had their blood unjustly poured out in the madness of the day.
As I sit today in prayer, I am grateful to be remembering all those who helped others, who live not for themselves but for others. For first responders and hospital workers. I’m reminded that my spiritual directee who I was worried about is indeed a nurse and I’m sure she had a busy and horrifying day.
But I also sit disturbed by the sounds that should bring disturbance to all of us, but often leave us stuck in the silence. May God move us into action to take us into those places to work for peace –even if those are places where we might not want to go.
Tonight, I will be meeting with people looking to revamp an organization I volunteer some time for. There’s been a lot of anger and hurt feelings on the inside. And I don’t have time for it. It’s time for us to come together in peace in all matters, to listen to one another and to keep non-violence primary in our lives. Can we hear the hearts of others deep within our own in the silence of our hearts as we pray in the quiet hours of our day? Those important times when we can listen to our God’s stirrings in our lives.
After all, what good would it do us to do otherwise?
David Kuo, the former associate of the White House’s Office of Faith Based Initiatives in the Bush Administration who wrote a scathing book about how the administration failed to live up to their promises for the office, died from brain cancer last Friday at the much too young age of 44.
We were “virtual” colleagues, meaning I never met him, but admired him and would occasionally share comments with him on Facebook.
My former colleague Bill McGarvey interviewed him on BustedHalo.com some time ago. The whole interview is lengthy but Kuo had a lot of interesting things to share about evangelicals, republican politics and politics. He also touched on charity and how he thought churches should fast from political messages from the pulpit for two years.
BH: The Republicans have had control of the Supreme Court for decades and they’ve also controlled the executive and legislative branches for a long time and yet so much of the ‘conservative’ far right’s agenda hasn’t really come to pass.
DK: Yeah, you look at the social statistics over the last 30 years and you see fluctuations up, fluctuations down, but the number of abortions today is if not the same, a little bit higher than it was in 1973. Certainly, cohabitation among heterosexuals is through the roof, rates of marriage are down, divorces are certainly up from where they were in 1973 although down from their peak in the 1980′s. But part of the reason they are down is because people are not getting married. (laughter)
You’ve got teen pregnancy, teen suicide, a really large host of social pathologies here and they are impervious to political calculations but we have made politics God and we have substituted the hard work of God for the relatively easy work of politics. At the end of the day, it is easy to fight a political fight, because it is clear. It is defined. You raise money, you attack your opponent, you turn out to vote, you win, and you lose. It’s clear. It’s defined. But God…it’s that line from Blake, ‘We are here to learn to endure the meanings of love.’ How much harder is it to sit in stillness in a secret place and to receive the unconditional love of God? I know I just suck at it. I know I need it desperately. But how hard is it? You talk about having intimacy issues? Hello!
Amen! David towards the end of his life was much more comfortable in the silent stillness. He met God intimately as he fought his illness and enjoyed the time he had left with his family. One of his final facebook posts touched me immensely.
Favor? Do something outrageous today – give way more than reasonable to a homeless person, take the family out for an ice cream dinner … and serve only ice cream. Call someone you hurt and ask forgiveness, call someone who hurt you and give forgiveness … And send me a pic.” ~ David Kuo June 26, 1968 – April 5, 2013
I did all of those things and then sent him a picture of Marion and I out at dinner (We ate something special–but because it was freezing here in Buffalo, we skipped on his ice cream suggestion. David would have said I understood the “spirit” of his request.)
Rest in peace, David. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May David’s soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
ESPN reported this morning that Rutgers Coach Mike Rice has been fired for…well just watch the video.
Embarrassing. But not surprising. I’ve been in many college basketball practices. Nick Macarchuk was the basketball coach when I was at Fordham and Rice was one of his players. Nick could curse a blue streak at times, but I don’t think I ever saw him touch a player or throw a ball at a player. So where Rice picked up this kind of anger is beyond me at this point.
Rice was one of the leaders of a 1991 squad that went to the NIT and won a round my junior year. He was never a great player, but he was smart and understood the game. His father is an analyst for college basketball games and coached at Youngstown State.
But the problem with sports is that there is always a “boys will be boys” attitude that is pervasive in the locker rooms of all kinds of athletic teams. The problem is that in this case Coach Rice is not a boy who throws a temper tantrum when things don’t go well. He’s a man. And needs to set an example for his players and for the university.
Sports tend to be a loud, rowdy, raucous affair. Football games are downright violent in the stands some days, never mind on the field. There’s often great fun in trash talking until it goes too far and a fight breaks out in the stands.
Losing streaks get frustrating, especially at the professional level and when players are permitted to throw bats and sticks and we just think it’s funny..there’s something wrong with us. Check out Wally Backman here in a minor league game. (there is a lot of cursing here so be forewarned).
When I was a reporter I saw coaches and players with poor attitudes and guys who would just yell at people for no reason. Intimidation was always the role of the day for most of these guys.
It’s just wrong. At any level. Looking back I only remember one high school coach really yelling in a hateful way towards his players when I played high school sports. My soccer, baseball and especially my cross country coach were all extremely positive men and great role models…and sure they got mad at us once in awhile. Sure they yelled and were driven individuals and they would implore us to try our hardest and would groan when we made errors, or turned a ball over, or were dogging it out there.
But none of them ever threw a ball at me, pushed me or called me a horrible name.
Guys sometimes make fun of each other and call each other names in jest. And I know I’ve taken part in that at times, especially in my younger years. But men need to be mature enough to control their emotions and clearly Coach Rice is out of control.
That’s not acceptable.
A final word or two: If you are a coach and you are that out of control, how out of control will your players be? Tom Landry, the famed Dallas Cowboys coach was often emotionless on the sidelines and he seemed to get the best out of his players. Mike Krzyzewski of Duke always seems rather measured on the sidelines. Here’s the worst from him…and I think this is about the level of anger that can be tolerated.
Players often need a coach who can keep his head clear when everyone else is losing theirs. It’s called being a good manager. Sometimes you do need to fight for your players and to try to keep the ref or ump honest when they make a bad call and lobby for getting a call right when you can. But you more apt get a call when you reason with those guys than scream at them.
I played in a beer league softball team which we took very seriously. It was a very competitive “hardtop” league–meaning we played in a concrete schoolyard and it was not out of the question that one of us was going to slide to try to break up a double play. Most of the guys I played with were law students and for as smart as they were we couldn’t get some of them to stop arguing with the umpires. They’d accuse them of racism when they’d make a bad call. They scream at the top of their lungs at them. They’d question their calls when they didn’t know the rules themselves sometimes. I was forever running out on the field to break up a fight between a player and an umpire, mostly because the player didn’t know what they were talking about and the umpire made the right call. The umps would just laugh it off. But do you think that guy EVER gave that player a close call after that? If it was a close play he was out. If he was pitching and a pitch was just off the corner there was no way he was getting a call strike three. It does you no good to go ballistic.
Mature adults learn to motivate others and collaborate with others in a positive way. That includes coaches and players and anyone else involved in sports. Cooler heads need to prevail.
I’ll pray for Mike Rice today. And will hope that he learns to control his anger. But for today, I’ll also remain embarrassed for him and take some time to simply sit quietly in peace, knowing that centering myself is what we all need to stay calm in the face of frustrating moments.
We are in the upper room, afraid, unable to move. Stunned into inertia at the horror of what has happened.
God is dead.
And yet, somehow God is alive.
The love that we behold in the cross beckons us beyond the horror, beyond our impotence to act, beyond all that we have seen into a place of hope.
Where w see a love so great that its power reaches beyond the grave, beyond the shadow of death.
Into new life.
It is not a revived life, rather it is resurrection–a life changed by the power of love to create something more powerful than we can imagine.
We are reminded of the transfiguration and the bleached white image of Jesus, a foretaste of what we now can see.
That foretaste is reality–He is risen! Alleluia!
But there’s more, much more.
For this reality is now again a foretaste. It will one day be our reality when we will be shining like the sun in a newness of life. We will become united with Christ in this resurrection one day, just as we are united in Baptism presently.
It is our mystery of faith. By dying he destroys our death, and rising he restores our life.
For now we wait for Christ to come in glory. We wait for the stone to roll away and for new life to begin for Jesus and for all of us.
But we are too afraid, too shamed by our sins to believe that it could all be true for us. That we could be “good enough” to share in the divinity of Christ.
Tonight let us pray to the Holy Spirit that we might be able to believe. That we might see beyond cross and tomb, not merely for Christ but for ourselves.
The message of Easter is one we’ve been hinting at for the past three days: God finds all of us very worthy.
We are worthy enough to have our feet washed–despite the fact that we sometimes run away from God.
We are worthy enough to die for, stark naked on a cross–even when we are all to quick to crucify others and ourselves.
We are worthy enough to be given a new life in Christ–despite our fear, despite our lack of faith at times.
Jesus reminds us that we are more than enough.
And if we are more than enough to die for, then we are more than enough to live our lives for one another. If we are more than enough then our hearts can stretch much farther than we think they can. If we are more than enough then we are more powerful already than we can ever imagine we might be.
We are already more powerful than death.
Because Christ has made it so.
And that is more than enough indeed. Alleluia!
So last week I remarked that there were some who weren’t even giving Pope Francis a chance before they began to hate him. Those remarks were actually aimed mostly to the left side of the aisle, especially at people who were saying he wasn’t a “real Jesuit” because he’s not your typical “son of Ignatius” that we might see here in the United States who may be more progressive in thought.
However, today, the attacks on the Pope come more from the right side of the church, the more traditionalist viewpoint.
For instance the AP filed this story:
Francis also raised traditional eyebrows when he refused the golden pectoral cross offered to him right after his election by Monsignor Guido Marini, the Vatican’s liturgy guru who under Benedict became the symbol of Benedict’s effort to restore the Gregorian chant and heavy silk brocaded vestments of the pre-Vatican II liturgy to papal Masses.
Marini has gamely stayed by Francis’ side as the new pope puts his own stamp on Vatican Masses with no-nonsense vestments and easy off-the-cuff homilies. But there is widespread expectation that Francis will soon name a new master of liturgical ceremonies more in line with his priorities of bringing the church and its message of love and service to ordinary people without the “high church” trappings of his predecessor.
There were certainly none of those trappings on display Thursday at the Casal del Marmo juvenile detention facility in Rome, where the 76-year-old Francis got down on his knees to wash and kiss the feet of 12 inmates, two of them women. The rite re-enacts Jesus’ washing of the feet of his 12 apostles during the Last Supper before his crucifixion, a sign of his love and service to them.
It seems traditional liturgists are most irked by the lack of pomp with which the Pope celebrates liturgy. And so I have issued a warning to them:
Never go to mass in a poor country.
In Nicaragua, we celebrated mass in a makeshift chapel that was horribly adorned with cheesy religious decor. Nothing was in it’s proper order. Curtains were stained and the stained glass windows were stickers that went over the plexiglass. It was an orphanage so there were often babies crying or moaning, children with special needs at times would be screaming and the dog, a skinny mutt, roamed freely in and out of the chapel.
It was beautiful.
Now granted, it got on my nerves at times, but this was the “everyday” of the chapel. The children were God’s gifts to us and they were just being themselves. And God was there in the midst of the mess.
In the messiness of our lives, God comes to us anyway.
In a youth penitentiary, the Pope came to celebrate that same moment for teens who had run afoul of the law, some who weren’t even Catholic and he offered the same message of Jesus.
“I will come to you anyway, despite your faults, despite the mess in your life, I will not abandon you.”
It seems to me that the most traditional thing the Pope could do was to be the face of Christ for these young people.
But that doesn’t seem like it is enough for some traditionalists. Many who have lambasted others for doing the same:
The church’s liturgical law holds that only men can participate in the rite, given that Jesus’ apostles were all male. Priests and bishops have routinely petitioned for exemptions to include women, but the law is clear.
Francis, however, is the church’s chief lawmaker, so in theory he can do whatever he wants.
“The pope does not need anybody’s permission to make exceptions to how ecclesiastical law relates to him,” noted conservative columnist Jimmy Akin in the National Catholic Register. But Akin echoed concerns raised by canon lawyer Edward Peters, an adviser to the Vatican’s high court, that Francis was setting a “questionable example” by simply ignoring the church’s own rules.
“People naturally imitate their leader. That’s the whole point behind Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. He was explicitly and intentionally setting an example for them,” he said. “Pope Francis knows that he is setting an example.”
The inclusion of women in the rite is problematic for some because it could be seen as an opening of sorts to women’s ordination. The Catholic Church restricts the priesthood to men, arguing that Jesus and his 12 apostles were male.
Francis is clearly opposed to women’s ordination. But by washing the feet of women, he jolted traditionalists who for years have been unbending in insisting that the ritual is for men only and proudly holding up as evidence documentation from the Vatican’s liturgy office saying so.
“If someone is washing the feet of any females … he is in violation of the Holy Thursday rubrics,” Peters wrote in a 2006 article that he reposted earlier this month on his blog.
In the face of the pope doing that very thing, Peters and many conservative and traditionalist commentators have found themselves trying to put the best face on a situation they clearly don’t like yet can’t do much about lest they be openly voicing dissent with the pope.
So they point fingers at the Pope and then out of the side of their mouths they’ll say “Well, the boss can do whatever he wants, I guess.” As if the Pope is somehow placing himself arrogantly “above the law.”
Far from the truth.
Tradition in and of itself is not a bad thing. Neither are rules. They often have our best interest at heart. The problem comes when the tradition and rules make us slaves, blindly following them at all costs, especially at the cost of showing love to another.
At times, we need to have the wisdom to know when it is OK to violate the law, even necessary to do so.
And that is what the Pope is trying to do here. He will be nobody’s slave and by doing so he frees so many from the bonds that have held them captive. Children who have been slaves to addiction and loneliness see that not only the Pope but, that God has not forgotten them, especially the girls who could have been easily ignored by the Pope over rules.
Simplicity is the key thus far, to Francis’ papacy. A dose of simplicity might be enough for all of us to be moved to conversion, to get away from the factions that divide us and move into a healthier and more unified way of being church together.
Simplicity is what God asks of us. Simplicity allows us to see the unborn as a person and not a complex gaggle of cells. Simplicity allows us to view all people with charity and open hearts. Simplicity allows us to see what we really need and that it is a lot less than we presently have. Simplicity calls us to share our gifts with the world, even at a cost to ourselves, because we can always offer all that we are and continue to find that we are fed by that more than we could ever imagine.
Detachment goes a long way for this Pope. Not only is he not attached to things, he’s not attached to rules that separate us from the love of God.
Sounds a lot like Jesus to me.
Or at least the Vicar of Christ.
Viva il Papa!
So I just couldn’t pick one winner in the “Two Popes Caption Contest”—the first place winner gets the prize but the two others get “honorable mention” here in today’s post for captioning this picture:
Here are the winners:
Third Place: Patty Spear
“Here is one of those Tide sticks. You’re gonna need it!”
Second Place: Paul Daly
“Never have the veal…they always overcook it.”
First place: Fr. Rick Malloy, S.J.
“OMG, they really elected a Jesuit? I made a mistake! I renounce my resignation… Give me back the ring!”
Congratulations to all and for all who entered.
Still reeling from last night’s service where we recounted the passover, shared in the communion Christ offers us and washed feet.
I was asked to wash the feet of one of my favorite students and one of our parish trustees. CJ, a medical student, is one of my favorites (not that I play favorites) and it was the first time he took part in such a service. I was greatly honored to be able to kneel in front of him, look at him and smile while I washed and dried his feet.
The same is true for Phyllis, a sweet, dear woman, married to her beloved for over 50 years. She’ll be in heaven long before I will. I teased her afterwards. “Pedicure?” I asked. She smiled and said, “I made sure to get one this week already!” We shared a giggle and all was right with the world.
Marion and I do this ritual every year and it’s always enriching for us as a married couple. We wash feet because it’s hard, it’s vile, it seems like something that “proper” people wouldn’t want to do. I’m always moved when she washes my feet because I know that if she can do this for me…well, there’s not much more that she won’t do for me. And vice-versa.
Last year a group of Campus Ministers from the Vicariate got together and we experienced the triduum in an afternoon prayer service. Most of us are “working” these services…so we don’t get a chance to really sit and relax and just be part of the service. Washing feet was one of the things we did for one another and I got to wash my colleague Nathan’s feet. Afterwards we reflected on the experience and he touched me by saying:
“Mike looked at me a few times and I felt really loved and cared for. It was a really moving and touching experience.”
I think that’s the gift that my wife gave to me by being able to wash my feet and to allow me to wash hers. But it is also the gift that Christ gives to each one of us, through the apostles, through the church and to each and every one we meet.
We wash feet not merely because we are reenacting the moment of Christ doing this for his disciples, but we wash feet so that we might do “greater things than this.” We might be able to stand with the poor, the unborn, the hated, the destitute, the forgotten. We might be able to forgive what we thought was the unforgivable. We might be able to look beyond our hatred and horror and instead of remaining in lockstep anger, we can move into love…
Into washing feet.
“Do you understand what I have done for you?”
I pray today that each of us truly does.
The disciples all left, save one. Along with his mother the beloved disciple stayed at the foot of the cross. And in my imagination I often enter into this scene and I picture Mary, the Mother of Jesus, looking at the beloved disciple and saying “You’re not going to leave me here all alone are you?”
I’m sure it was all too much to bear. I’m sure it was horrifying. I’m sure the guards pushed back and didn’t let them get too close. I’m sure that tears were shed and that they were frightened.
But I’m also sure that it was more than just a little bit brave.
When I look to the cross I want to look away. I want to avoid the pain and the horror. But the truth is that I need to be able to be the beloved disciple and to stay with Jesus. To acknowledge the wounded part of not only who I am, standing before God in all my imperfections, but also to admit that God is also wounded with me, wounded for me.
Jesus accepts the cross for us and in so doing He not only accepts our human death but perhaps the most brutal human death. A tortured God in a tortured world that too often forgets about God.
Jesus wants us not to forget. And so he hangs, not in a sense of masochism, but rather in a place of suffering with all those who needlessly suffer because of the brokenness of the world we live in.
That brokenness continues today.
If we but stay at the cross with Christ we can enter into sharing our suffering with God who redeems all that we bring to the cross. But moreover, we can enter into the suffering of others. Those who are hungry, homeless, facing war, unloved and unwanted, murdered, addicted, abused and treated unjustly.
Can we stand at the foot of their cross as well–knowing that sometimes, we too, are helpless to change the situations of those in dire situations? We can’t possibly help them all. We can’t possibly heal the entire world or maybe even our corner of it all by ourselves.
Archbishop Romero reminds us that we are not messiahs or master builders. Rather we come before the cross with all that we are. And God somehow changes us to see all that we can be.
And that is enough for God.
When we come before the cross with the bravery to admit that we are not perfect, when we can stand responsible for the mess we often make of things and ask for God’s forgiveness, we then can see beyond the cross into God’s redemption.
It is here at the foot of the cross that we too stand naked and wounded. God sees us for who we are with wounded eyes of His own and forgives us anyway.
But we need to be brave enough to stand here with Jesus, with His mother, as a beloved disciple.
“You’re not going to leave me here all alone are you?”
On this Good Friday not only do we need to respond to that question as a beloved disciple brave enough to face the cross…
But we also need to listen to ourselves as God the same question in our own suffering.
And to see God’s response…as we find our savior hanging from a tree…never leaving us alone, but sharing in our wounds and redeeming all that we suffer.
Check out Pope Francis washing the feet of teens at a youth penitentiary today.
That last frame is the one I love most, he looks into the eyes of each of them and smiles. Don’t you just know that Jesus probably did the same thing for each disciple.
A simple mass was all the Pope asked for…but far from simple are his actions. Think about the teens that he visited with today. For many, they may be forgotten souls. To end up in jail, most of them for drug offenses, their lives at home may have been troubled to begin with. How often might they ever get a visitor? Perhaps the Pope is the first person who has come to see them in some time. The Pope has time, even for the most forgotten souls–even those in the forgotten jails of the Vatican.
The refrain many have heard may have been: “Lock those kids, those good for nothings, away and let them rot there.” But the Pope provides hope. Hope for the future. Hope that they might be turned to wash feet themselves.
What about us? Can we wash the feet of the forgotten? Can we dare to care for the most vulnerable in the world? Who do we cast to the sidelines and simply forget about? The Pope reminds us to be concerned about these souls.
Ignatius of Loyola founded the Jesuits in order to “help souls.” Perhaps Pope Francis is aiming to remind the church that this is central to our mission?