There is a chapter of my life that I want to share with you, but I'm not very proud of it. It centers on the time that I was in college and it has had a profound impact on my life. It may provide some hope and, in its own way, offer some encouragement.
From the Editor
In his Gospel account, St. Matthew tells us that just after the Magi gave their gifts to the child Jesus, Joseph was told to take the child and his mother, Mary, and flee to Egypt. As Matthew puts it: “… behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you. Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him. Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod” (2:13-15).
There are many names or titles which we ascribe to Pope Francis.
The ﬁrst is “pope.” It comes from “papa,” and is a reminder that in his role as chief shepherd of the Church, Pope Francis is like a tender-hearted father to us. We also call Pope Francis the Holy Father for the same reason, although, my sense is that many of us love to see him more as a loving grandpa.
Have you felt “uncomfortable” when in your heart you feel called to comfort the afflicted? We all have had that feeling, and for a number of reasons, such as “I don’t know what to say,” or “I don’t know how or what to do,” or “I’ll get to it later.” And let’s face it, deep down we envision our own fate and face fears about our own future when we are with someone who is afflicted.
As Jesus begins his ministry in St. Luke’s Gospel, he starts by teaching and preaching as he makes his way along the shore of the Lake of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee). There, he encounters Simon Peter, James and John, who, as fishermen, have been working hard all night and day. They have not met with much success. Jesus climbs into Simon Peter’s boat and encourages him to set out a bit from shore so that Jesus might better address and teach the crowd who has followed him. Up to that moment, Simon Peter and his co-workers, James and John, have been going about their business as fishermen.
First, let me say what a blessing it has been for me to minister with teens for my entire adult life – 40-plus years. You are truly amazing. That really is where my message to you begins. You are made in God’s image. You are God’s handiwork, a reflection of his love for the world to see. Your value is so great that when we all were in need of forgiveness, God placed a value on us. He gave up his only begotten Son as the ransom for your and my life. By God’s word and actions, he has made a clear statement of how wonderful and valuable to him you are. You’re priceless.