“Oh, that today you would hear his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts.’” - Hebrews 3
One site highlighted/linked to a post by Michael Sean Winters discussing the Holy Father's homily this past weekend. I commented on the homily/Angelus address yesterday calling it The Perfect Joy of Pope Francis. Winters said he was moved to tears by the Holy Father's words - I had been as well - I just didn't say it because it seems to me people are crying online all the time. Usually because they don't like the Pope and what he says or does. Though Winters reads the Pope's words as a sign of hope for some new direction for the upcoming Synod, he nonetheless was deeply moved by what the Holy Father calls us to.
"Pope Francis is asking us how we interact with the lepers of our time, the marginalized. Do we even know them? Do we love them?" - Winters
I don't really read the NCR but once again I find myself agreeing with a writer who is roundly criticized by 'conservatives' online. Michael Sean Winters writes from a more liberal POV than most writers I do read, agenda driven - or not - many bloggers I do read, write from a more traditional POV . I don't think I fit well into any category of liberal, trad, conservative, what have you. Others may want to box me in a given category - but I know I can't fit in - I can't be faithful to the expectations of others.
That said, it seems to me, a group of people may have unwittingly hardened their hearts against the Holy Father. I say that because not a few appear prepared to not only question but have become so suspicious as to actually reject everything he says or does. A mind set has been 'set' - the Holy Father refers to it as a fearful, narrow and prejudiced mentality. It is in effect, a hardening of the heart. Commenting on today's Gospel the Holy Father warned:
He warned: "This is evil and we all have this ability to destroy". As Lent begins, the Church “invites us to reflect on this”. Pointing to today's Gospel where Jesus rebukes the disciples who are arguing among themselves about having forgotten to bring bread. The Lord tells them to “watch out,guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod". He gives the example of two people: Herod who "is bad, a murderer, and the Pharisees who are hypocrites." In doing so, Jesus reminds them of when he broke the five loaves and urges them to think of the Salvation, of what God has done for all of us. Pope Francis went on to note that "they did not understand, because their hearts were hardened by this passion, by this evil need to argue among each other and see who was guilty of having forgotten the bread". - Vatican Radio
"they did not understand, because their hearts were hardened ..."
That is scary.
The same site which linked to the NCR Winter's article linked to an article criticizing the Pope for referring to the martyrdom of the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded on the Libyan beach as "the ecumenism of blood." Clearly meaning that the martyrs belong to all Christians: "The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ."
"I would now like to turn to my native tongue to express feelings of profound sorrow. Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: 'Jesus, help me!' They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. You, my brother, in your words referred to what is happening in the land of Jesus. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers and sisters who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians." ~ Pope FrancisThe author contemns the Holy Father's words claiming he is using the martyrdom of these men to promote an agenda - ecumenism:
I agree with anyone who calls these valiant men martyrs for Jesus Christ. However, I do not think that the heroic deaths of these Coptic Christians, who died with the name of Jesus on their lips, should be exploited by anyone for any agenda whatsoever. It is wrong to shamelessly advance in the name of your own projects men's real sacrifices to further your agenda, namely, in this case - ecumenism. - Bones
The author's readers agree with him. It is such a ridiculous accusation, I'm practically speechless.
Another American blogger takes down the Holy Father's homily Winters wrote about in an attempt to correct the Pope's scriptural commentary:
In his homily to his see, he portrays Jesus as walking around healing 'nearly everyone' He came upon.
"That com-passion which made him draw near to every person in pain!"
He most certainly did not. - Crusader
Amazing, huh? Who would dare limit the mercy of God? Our Lord cured everyone who came to him: "He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick..." - Matt. 8:16 "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power ... he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him." - Acts 10:38 .
"There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written." - John 21:25
BTW - The only reason comment moderation is on is that I'm getting spam from China and the Middle East. Not sure how it gets published.