Taking Time

I’m sure you’ve seen this already but, if you haven’t check out Pope Francis after celebrating mass at a local church, he greeted each parishioner afterwards for nearly 20 minutes.

Nearly 20 minutes.

This guy gets it. He realized this is the one chance people might have to interact with the Pope, to be able to say “The Pope was there for me.” Watch the very end of the video when he’s working the line of people on the street. His security team is going nuts.

And based on his example, who don’t we take time for in our lives? Who do we fail to give 20 minutes of our time in our all-too-hectic world? Is it that one parishioner who is a pain in the neck, who we avoid like the plague? The poor on the street corner who we avoid making eye contact with? The student with too many questions? The relative who demands too much?

If the Pope can do it with his nightmare of a schedule, then we don’t have an excuse.

So today, ask yourself: Who do you most often intentionally ignore?

And then, give them just 20 minutes.

If a Dog is Too Hard to Love…

They say that when you look at how a culture treats its animals, you can make a direct correlation to how it treats vulnerable people as well.

Jarrad Venegas, who was our crackerjack office manager at BustedHalo® pointed me towards this video that is the epitome of that remark. Take a quick look and I dare you not to be moved by this.

Everyone was all too ready to give up on this dog, who was simply scared. Once she was able to see that someone else simply would love and care for her, could she then relax and stop “acting out” of her own fear.

But everyone was too quick to dispose of Edie. She was an “impossible” dog. “Better to put her down” was the conventional wisdom.

How often do we say that about other situations? Do we look at the homeless with their matted hair and their unkempt look as “disposable people?” Can we pull them into our arms for a hug? Or is that too much for us?

How about the unborn or the mother who is too scared to have her own child? Often everyone says that it’ll be too hard for the mother to care for the child. And they might very well be right. But how can we change that situation? What responsibility might we bear? How might we make that child no longer “easily disposable” but rather, loved and cared for?

How about the elderly? When they can no longer contribute to the world of work are we apt to simply forget about them? When they struggle with losing their own independence, are we able to be there to comfort them and help them gain confidence in their new situation? When they lose control of their faculties and even their bladders and bowels can we save them from embarrassment and pamper them as we would a newborn, or do we just let them stay dirty and scared and in need of someone who can care for their immediate needs?

And I’m not above any of this. I know I don’t always reach out to others when I could. It might be because I’m too lazy, or that I know the effort might be exhausting, or quite frankly that I just don’t care enough.

Even my own dog, Haze (pictured, right) who I pamper and treat like a king most of the time, can easily exhaust me when his needs try my patience with constant barking or when he feels too anxious and “acts out”–most often on my couch.

At times, it seems I give up much too easily on people who simply need just a bit of what we all need in order to feel secure.

Is it too hard to love this deeply? Perhaps Jesus who asks us to love without limit would say that we humans have a long way to go to achieve the Kingdom here on earth.

Because after all, some of us can’t even do it for a dog.

Glenn Beck Thinks Jesus and John Paul II Hates Poor People

Since I’m on an alternative spring break…I’d like to take this moment to offer up a little “teaching moment” as we Campus Ministry types like to say.

Fox News’ Glenn Beck had this to say about social justice and the poor this week and for the record, Mr. Beck, you sir, are a complete moron.

On his daily radio and television shows last week, Fox News personality Glenn Beck set out to convince his audience that “social justice,” the term many Christian churches use to describe their efforts to address poverty and human rights, is a “code word” for communism and Nazism. Beck urged Christians to discuss the term with their priests and to leave their churches if leaders would not reconsider their emphasis on social justice.

“I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”

Well, I have only three things to say to you Mr. Beck,

#1) I think this page got ripped out of your idiot version of the bible:

He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

I guess that makes you a goat, Mr. Beck.

#2) Since John Paul II called for all Catholics to have a “Preferential Option for the Poor” and since he defeated communism, I guess we’re to believe that defeating the communists was just a lucky shot.

and lastly #3) I have been working with the young people serving the poor all week long and if you are so blind as to not get the fact that young people all over this often not-so great country of ours are seeing Jesus in the eyes of the poor than I think you’re either the meanest person that God could ever have created or you’re just trying to get a rise out of people who hold a high value to social justice and if the latter, than I congratulate you.

I’m off to clothe the naked and feed the poor now, if you don’t mind. Wanna join me?

Pope to Obama: You’re too conservative

From today’s Washington Post and E.J. Dionne

When President Obama meets with Pope Benedict XVI tomorrow, there will be no right-wing Catholic demonstrators upbraiding the pontiff, as they did Notre Dame earlier this year, for conferring the church’s legitimacy upon this liberal politician.

In fact, whether he is the beneficiary of providence or merely good luck, Obama will have his audience with Benedict just three days after the release of a papal encyclical on social justice that places the pope well to Obama’s left on economics. What a delightful surprise it would be for a pope to tell our president that on some matters, he’s just too conservative.

It seems that this Pope is indeed going to be critical of the Obama administration but just not in the manner that most people would expect.

To read the Pope’s new encyclical on social justice click here