Prior to the ordination liturgy of our two new auxiliary bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan was asked by one of our stalwart producers from NET-TV what he thought Pope Francis would be speaking about during his visit to the U.S. in September. The cardinal simply replied with one word: “Jesus.”
Yes, Pope Francis will no doubt be addressing the anticipated issues. He will surely speak about poverty, the environment, and without a doubt, he will address the family in the contemporary world. No doubt, his words will inspire some and infuriate others. No matter what the topic, the Holy Father will be speaking about Jesus.
Christ, the reason for our hope, the center of all families, the model of all humanity, truly will be the topic that the pope will be addressing. He comes to teach us, as a father, as a shepherd, about the one whom he truly believes and knows to be the savior of the world.
Get ready for the pope’s visit to the U.S. He comes like the apostle Paul to us modern-day Gentiles, speaking to us in the Areopagi of our secular culture. He comes to bring the message that Christ the Light has conquered the darkness of this world, and although it is still night, the dawn is breaking.
How can we prepare for the pope’s visit, even if all we will do is see the visit on television? First, we can pray for the Holy Father’s intentions. We can pray that he will have the strength, the courage, the wisdom and the prudence needed to speak the words that we need to hear.
Second, we can read what the pope is actually writing and saying. Relying not only on what is reported, we can read his encyclical, “Laudato si’,” considered controversial by some, and know what it is he’s actually teaching.
On his way back from his South American trip, Francis said that he must study the concerns some in the U.S. have concerning his economic views. If the pope is studying and praying before his trip to our area, should we not do so as well? The Vicar of Christ comes to teach us about Jesus. Pray for the success of this trip and for an open this among the people of the United States.