Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matt 5:11-12
As I read about and listen to what people have to say about the Holy Father's visit to America, what continually puzzles me is that almost everyone seems to look at the visit from a purely political point of view. It's hard to know, really, what the pope has done and said because it is ceaselessly spun from every direction. What if it has nothing to do with politics? What if he doesn't really care what the media thinks? What if he is just exercising the role of a prophet and speaking to his people--and I believe he would include all people in this category--about the gospel? I think that we have to at least consider this possibility.
I'm sure that Jesus did not go home at night and worry about how Ceasar, or Caiaphas, or the 1st century version of media pundits took his message. I don't think the pope does either. And none of us can really judge the effects of this visit because none of us knows what is happening on a spiritual level. Nobody knows how the individuals who have seen him in person, looked him in the face or even watched him on TV have been changed by their experience with the pope, and how that change may affect the world. It's not just what the pope is doing and saying; it's the Holy Spirit inhabiting the words of the Gospel and moving in peoples' hearts.
It seems to me that our response should be, as our response should always be, to look at ourselves and ask where we fall short of the gospel and pray to be changed. Then we won't have time to fret ourselves to death about what the media and the administration and the powers that be think, and we will be prepared for whatever comes, good or bad.
Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,That my life may only be a radiance of Yours.Shine through me, and be so in meThat every soul I come in contact withMay feel Your presence in my soul.Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus!Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,So to shine as to be a light to others;The light, O Jesus will be all from You; none of it will be mine;It will be you, shining on others through me.Let me thus praise You the way You love best, by shining on those around me.Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example,By the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,The evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You. Amen. Blessed John Henry NewmanAMDG