“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. Pope Francis has made it so. Humble, honest, and unafraid to speak his mind, our Pope has challenged us to face the sexual abuse crisis head on and captivated the imagination of many around the world. Calling the church to return to its foundations, Pope Francis is living up to his name, and although, like St Francis, he is making some Catholics nervous, he is doing what he promised when first elected. 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,” and our mother the earth, and the voiceless.
St Francis of Assisi not only thought about the poor, he became poor and allowed God to turn his life upside down. 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, 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?