Some weeks back Pope Francis, in a talk to visiting pilgrims, said that we should look people in the eye when we are helping them. This may not always be possible in our world where there is so much suffering and hardship. But the Holy Father certainly pays attention to his own advice as witnessed by his five hour visit to the migrant camp in Lesbos. Deeply moved by a young woman sobbing uncontrollably at his feet (apparently her husband is in Germany, while she is in the camp with her two children), the Pope gently helped her to her feet. They are people not numbers, and have been helped by a Greek population that has endured its own economic woes, a fact not lost on the religious Orthodox leaders that accompanied Pope Francis to the camp. Back in 1995, Max Lucado wrote a short narrative on one man and his God.
Once there was a man who dared God to speak.
“Burn the bush like you did for Moses, God and I will follow. Collapse the walls like you did for Joshua, God and I will fight. Still the waves like you did on Galilee, God and I will listen.”
And so the man went and sat by a bush, near a wall close to the sea and waited for God to speak.
And God heard the man , So God answered. He sent fire, not for the bush, but for a church. He brought down a wall, not of brick, but of sin. He stilled a storm, not of the sea, but of a soul.
And God waited for the man to respond. And he waited … And waited … And waited…
But because the man was looking at bushes, not hearts; bricks, not lives; seas and not souls, he decided that God had done nothing. Finally he looked at God and asked, “Have you lost your power?” And God looked at him and said, “Have you lost your hearing?”
Maybe this is why the Holy Father is asking me to look you in the eye!
God Bless, Fr. John