Last night was my first opportunity to see Pope Francis in action on his USA visit. He was at the Festival of Families in Philadelphia speaking about the Creator’s great love – a love so strong that it could not be contained and so the universe was created! The Pope then applied that concept to the way families are created and must thrive in love. It was a reminder to me that our love, our appreciation, curiosity and acceptance of others must continue to expand in every circumstance in like manner.
This morning’s readings speak to this point, and to the Pope’s comments during the week about religious liberty. Both Moses and Jesus have followers who come to them to complain that others “not of their company” are either prophesying (NM 11:25-29) or healing (MK 9:38-48) and both tell their followers to “let it be.” Moses says, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!” and Jesus tells his disciples, “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”
Francis is, himself, a great image of inclusion and the welcome that he has received here in this country is indicative of the power of spiritual leadership. People of all faiths have gathered to listen to him, to pray with him and to respond with enthusiasm to his messages in each location that he has visited. This is a moment of possibility for our country and the world – a time for hope and for action toward peace and unity. May it call to us in a way that is too insistent to ignore.