One of the impressive aspects of Pope Francis has been the focus of his ministry. He has adopted St. Francis’ principle as the rule of his life “to follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in his footsteps.” He has taken up his papal duties with a dedication to simplicity, a commitment to the poor, the elderly, the sick and prisoners, keeping Jesus and the gospel as his focus.
God’s justice and mercy are intended for all people regardless of age, wealth, social standing or apparent success. This divine intention is often unrealized today. Our society values achievement and for many people wealth is the measure of achievement. This makes it difficult to see importance or value in those who seem never to have achieved much.
Judged by our social standards, Jesus seemed pretty much a failure. He had no home; he was not gainfully employed; his clothing was only that which he wore. Yet the power of his life, work and words have changed human history and given meaning to billions. The words of the psalmist invite us to evaluate our own lives and the lives of those around us by the standards of God’s justice and mercy.
Gracious God, help us to walk in the footsteps of Jesus as we live our lives from day to day. Amen. — RN