I like Pope Francis more and more with each passing day!
On May 18, the Pope raised the issue of the “moral crisis” plaguing the hearts and minds of Christians around the world. To explain the crisis, Pope Francis used the state of homelessness as an example. He stated to a huge international audience in St. Peter’s Square:
“Today, and it breaks my heart to say it, finding a homeless person who has died of cold, is not news. Today, the news is scandals, that is news, but the many children who don’t have food – that’s not news. This is grave. We can’t rest easy while things are this way.”
What Pope Francis said is true. I can attest to his remarks when I’m in the United States, a country increasingly obsessed with the personal scandals of people like actors and singers.
In the morning my mother turns on the news and the coverage is often about the latest divorce or drunk driving charge from an actor you see on the big-screen or a singer you hear on the radio. There is hardly, if ever, anyone talking about being a good Christian and giving to the homeless or refraining from chasing money or material objects.
Pope Francis has called the interest in the social lives of strangers and the complete disregard for the poor a “crisis of values.” He summed it up as follows:
“This is happening today. If investments in banks fall, it is a tragedy and people say ‘what are we going to do?’ but if people die of hunger, have nothing to eat or suffer from poor health, that’s nothing. This is our crisis today. A Church that is poor and for the poor has to fight this mentality.”
The Pope suggested that Christians need to be more like Jesus: courageous and interesting in seeking out those who need help most.
Lately I have done what is within my means to help those who are most in need. In an effort to fight stereotypes of homelessness, I shared one particular poem of a homeless man in Dublin with the Irish Independent. At the beginning of the last Lent season, I also went around Dublin and helped those homeless by filling their cups with money.
We end on an inspiring thought from one of Pope Francis’s role model, Francis of Assisi who used to say:
“Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord God, for up to now we have made little or no progress” (1 Celano, #193).