A friend this month, who might have been the freest man I ever met, died.
You love, you serve, you know you are a sinner and accept justice and aren’t destroyed by sin and injustice because you know you’re a sinner and you know your Father knows this, and sent His Son to win the victory over sin and death for anyone who will say yes and follow.
As Pope Francis put it this morning at the Mass for new cardinals: following Jesus
is “not easy, or comfortable, because the way that Jesus chooses is the way of the Cross. As they journey together, he speaks to his disciples about what will happen in Jerusalem: he foretells his passion, death and resurrection. And they are “shocked” and “full of fear”. They were shocked, certainly, because for them going up to Jerusalem meant sharing in the triumph of the Messiah, in his victory … But they were also full of fear for what was about to happen to Jesus, and for what they themselves might have to endure.
Unlike the disciples in those days, we know that Jesus has won, and that we need not fear the Cross; indeed, the Cross is our hope. And yet, we are all too human, sinners, tempted to think as men do, not as God does.
Be not afraid, has been a bit of a papal refrain in recent papacies. The damned Devil would keep us afraid. The damned Devil thrives when we believe there’s no way to care for the elderly or the unplanned unborn or feed hungry or visit the sick or deal with the prisoner or associate with the immigrant as a brother in Christ. So why would we ever want to do anything but pray for the grace to say yes and follow?