Today, September 24, 2015, Pope Francis addressed Congress in a speech that went directly to the heart of the Gospel. I could not help but smile as I watched him enter the room welcomed by cheers and ovation. He truly is a man of God who lives the gospel every day. He communicated beautifully how we are to behave in the world with its many problems, different religious viewpoints, different political viewpoints, the sin of poverty, racism, narcissism, consumerism and war for profit. There are so many terrible injustices in the world, too many to count, but if we, as individuals, try to do our best to be Christ in the world, to be compassionate, forgiving, tolerant, then maybe the world can be transformed a little at a time, person by person. It's a lofty thing to say and much too simplistic to convey the real difficulty of trying to transform ourselves consistently when at any moment our resolve can fall apart by an unkind word, a job loss, or an emotional loss which can throw us into a tailspin and leave us feeling abandoned and a failure. The Pope's message reminds us that God is for us. Individually, and together as a society. And if God is for us who can be against us? We need to remember that. We can do anything when we invoke God's grace to help us. We can transform ourselves. We can be better human beings. We can be kind to each other.
Let America look at herself without the beam in her eye and stop waging war for profit; allowing its citizens to live in poverty and shaming them at the same time; dehumanizing the immigrant, denying education to the many who desire it; and most of all, the sin of capitalism. Yes … I do believe that capitalism unregulated is sinful. It causes struggle and heartache for those who are not in the game and punishes those who are not in the game as being lazy and unmotivated.
I pray that the Pope's visit will move those in that room towards personal transformation and a reexamination of conscience because deep down I believe every one in that room KNEW that the Holy Father's words were nothing less than what Christ himself would say.
I know that there will be many who will accuse the Pope of not doing enough for whatever cause it is that one feels strongly about. But there is no doubt that he can inspire people to be their better selves. And if the Pope can wash the feet of criminals in the streets of Rome ... how can you argue with an example like that?
I believe this visit will have an effect on countless individuals who might look at their lives and see where they can be better. At least I hope so. And if one of those individuals is a member of congress, that would be better still.