Mark Hart

Our New Pope: Humble Yet Powerful

I was expecting something 'more.' I mean, this was the new Pope's first homily since his election. On Wednesday the world tuned in to see our new Pope Francis. On Thursday we got to hear him preach for the first time.

Pope Francis celebrated holy mass with the Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday and within minutes his homily was made available online.

The entire homily was only 537 words. It lasted less than five minutes. It was short and sweet . . . but it sure wasn't easy.

I'm including most of the text of his homily below (in italics) with some quick observations thrown in (and numbered) along the way. These are just a few ideas on how our new Holy Father's words can be applied to your life, today.

1. Does your walk match your talk?

PF: Walking: our life is a journey and when we stop, there is something wrong. Walking always, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with that blamelessness . . .

Scan through your social media profile. Look at your Facebook pictures and status updates. Scroll through your tweets. Shuffle through your Instagram pics and take a second look at your Tumblr. Does it reflect the person you are – the one God designed you to be – or another, more worldly version of yourself?

2.What are you saying?

PF: Building: to build the Church. There is talk of stones: stones have consistency, but [the stones spoken of are] living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. Build up the Church, the Bride of Christ, the cornerstone of which is the same Lord. With [every] movement in our lives, let us build!

What do the comments you make on social media profiles – yours AND others' – most often do? Are your posts more sarcastic (tearing down) or affirming (building up)? Words carry weight. You can do an incredible amount of damage in 140 characters (or less). If you can't imagine Christ, Himself, posting it on someone's page . . . odds are, you shouldn't, either.

3. Build Your Life on Christ

PF: Third, professing: we can walk as much we want, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail. We will become a pitiful NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of Christ. When one does not walk, one stalls. When one does not built on solid rocks, what happens? What happens is what happens to children on the beach when they make sandcastles: everything collapses, it is without consistency.

You can do a lot of 'nice' stuff. You can lector at Mass or never miss one Life Night at your youth group. You can sign a chastity card or dish soup out to homeless people. In the end, though, if you're not 'doing' these things for Christ and building your life on Him, it's not going to last. If you're not thinking about Jesus the 'being' than everything you're 'doing' is for nothing.

4. Evil Exists

PF: When one does not profess Jesus Christ – I recall the phrase of Leon Bloy … 'Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil.' When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil. Walking, building-constructing, professing: the thing, however, is not so easy, because in walking, in building, in professing, there are sometimes shake-ups – there are movements that are not part of the path: there are movements that pull us back.

The devil is real and he is dangerous. The road to sin is subtle not just seductive. Look up James 4:7-8 and commit it to memory. Seek heaven, not earth and remember that when things go wrong, don't walk – RUN – back to Christ in His Sacraments.

5. Life is difficult

PF: This Gospel continues with a special situation. The same Peter who confessed Jesus Christ, says, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the Cross. This has nothing to do with it.' He says, 'I'll follow you on other ways, that do not include the Cross.' When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly . . .

Do not fear difficult situations – expect them. Challenges will grow you in virtue and in character (Romans 5:1-5). Obstacles help you become a saint.

6. Be Fearless

I would like that all of us, after these days of grace, might have the courage – the courage – to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the Cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ Crucified. In this way, the Church will go forward.

Have the courage to become who you are (designed to be). Be fearless!

7. Call on Mom

PF: My hope for all of us is that the Holy Spirit, that the prayer of Our Lady, our Mother, might grant us this grace: to walk, to build, to profess Jesus Christ Crucified. So be it.

Don't be afraid to ask your Mom for help. She's there to pray for you. In fact, how about offering up three 'Hail Marys' right now, wherever you are, asking Mother Mary not only to pray with you but to pray for Pope Francis and Christ's Church universal.

Buckle up, brothers and sisters – just as Christ called Peter away from the docks, our new Peter (Pope Francis) is inviting us all out into the deep.

Mark Hart

About the Author

My childhood plan was to be a jedi. My teenage plan was to be on Saturday Night Live. God's plan was to have me in ministry. God won - and I'm glad He did.