Tuesday, 15 April 2008


If you watch the news and read the papers, you might be forgiven for thinking that the world is on it's knees. A world Credit Crunch is dropping banks like flies, a world food crisis has caused protests in developing countries and in some cases deaths, the violence surrounding the Olympic games seems to be growing and secularism is being promoted daily by the ever increasing stream of extremism which we are seeing in Islam at the moment.

Today, the Holy Father will visit the united states; at his Sunday audience speaking on the missionary dimensions any vocation brings with them, he said he was going to share in that missionary experience on his pastoral visit to the USA. The Pope is not going to the USA as a diplomat, or indeed as an apologist; he's going as a missionary.

In a time when the world looks as and if and indeed it is in trouble, the Holy Father is going to bring a message of hope which is underpinned by faith, conversion, repentance and healing. In short it's foundation is the Paschal mystery - the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In his recent encyclical Spe Salvi the Pope said:

"details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness. Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well. So now we can say: Christianity was not only “good news”—the communication of a hitherto unknown content. In our language we would say: the Christian message was not only “informative” but “performative”. That means: the Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life."

He continues:

"Yet at this point a question arises: in what does this hope consist which, as hope, is “redemption”? The essence of the answer is given in the phrase from the Letter to the Ephesians quoted above: the Ephesians, before their encounter with Christ, were without hope because they were “without God in the world”. To come to know God—the true God—means to receive hope."

We have to, now more than ever be true witnesses to this message of hope. Most of my friends don't believe in God. If I was to go into the Pub and ask them to simply go to a Mass (of any form) that would be nice, and maybe they would enjoy it and find it interesting, but they probably would decline my offer & it's nothing if I myself am not living that faith and being a true witness to the hope the our Lord brings. Yet they might be inspired by us if we allow the Holy Spirit to penetrate our hearts and minds.

We must be concerned about this, and we must ourselves be missionaries in our own lives. Our world is on it's knees... And if we think about it, most of our friends and in some cases our families are being literally starving, and trying to satisfy this hunger for our Lord, by the material pleasures this world has to offer. Yet that's the thing, those things are temporal, a live in faith is eternal. It's not simply our faith, it's the truth and we are called to go forth and make disciples of all nations. Not by force, not by indoctrination, but by the power of the Holy Spirit in the world.

"As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well."

Please pray for the Pope in his visit to the US, and pray that many hearts and minds will be filled with Hope and Healing as we go forward to bring the message of Christ to the world.

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