“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes." Lk 10:13
The name Francis is in the forefront of the news these days, especially in the United States. Pope Francis has dominated the news for days during his pastoral visit to our country. Humble, honest, and unafraid to speak his mind, the Holy Father has captivated the imagination of many around the world and has begun to use his new prominence to speak out on behalf the voiceless. Calling the church to return to its foundations, Pope Francis is living up to his name. When asked why he chose the name Francis, he was clear, “The poor, the poor. When he (Cardinal Hummes of Brazil) spoke about the poor, I thought of St. Francis of Assisi,” said the pope, who took the name of Francis, “Then, I thought of the wars.”
St Francis of Assisi not only thought about the poor, he became poor and like so many great saints he allowed God to turn his life upside down. Urged as a boy to be a soldier and fight for Assisi, Francis listened, went to war against the neighboring town of Perugia, but then heard God's call to let go of his warring ways and live the Gospel without compromise. Like the 3rd century martyr, St Maximilian, who said "I am a solder of Christ, I cannot fight," Francis fought not for dominance over his neighbors but for Gospel purity. Wanting to live so poorly that he and his brothers would have nothing to defend, he directed the friars to own nothing and possess nothing, eventually convincing the Roman hierarchy to approve their way of life. Francis' example continues to inspire thousands of women and men today.
Today, live simply so that others can live.
What should be our response to the poor?