By Bishop Kevin J. Farrell
Publisher of The Texas Catholic
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the overwhelming number of Catholics (79 percent) and a majority of the general public (58 percent) view Pope Francis favorably. (Pew Research Center) His words and his actions during the past six months have witnessed to the simple truth of the Gospel…God is love!
Pope Francis is the face of the Catholic Church and of Christianity to a large portion of the world’s population. While Christianity cannot be a popularity contest or a personality cult, it just makes sense that those with a favorable opinion of the Pope will be more open to his important message.
And, that message is clearly that God is a loving God not a condemning God. Christianity is not an “or else” faith, it is a manifestation of the healing and forgiving love of God in the person of Jesus.
As Jesus reminded the Apostle Philip, to know Him is to know the Father. (John 14:7) Jesus’ mission is to reveal the Father (John 14:7) and the mission of the Church is to reveal Jesus.
The Holy Father has set out to do just that by washing the feet of prisoners, welcoming immigrants, defining the role of bishop as pastor, challenging global indifference to the marginalized envisioning a “poor Church for the poor” and calling youth to “form a new generation that lives the faith and passes it on to the next generation.”
At a time when technology has become the newest idol, the Pope has restored a “hands on” Christianity marked by love, joy, mercy, humility and presence. A Christianity impelled by Jesus’ command to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke10:27)
The Holy Father is modeling discipleship for all of us. We are more than observers at a new and interesting series of events, we are participants. Each of us is a witness to Jesus to our family, friends and coworkers. Let us always pray for our dear Pope Francis and that our witness be as effective as his.
Please join me in regularly praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance for Holy Father as he shepherds the Church into a more perfect image of Jesus as the way to the Father.
Bishop Kevin J. Farrell is the seventh bishop of Dallas. Read his blog at bishopkevinfarrell.org/blog.