In his homily at his Mass of Installation, Pope Francis spoke with powerful simplicity and challenged us with the message of the Gospel. What was this message? Simply that, like Saint Joseph, whose feast we celebrate today, we should care for those entrusted to our care. This is the task of the Bishop of Rome, the pastors of the Church and because of our baptism, our task as well. We have a responsibility for all of creation, for ourselves but for others first, for everyone, simply because every person matters to God. That simple reality is the foundation of the teachings of the Church, of our stewardship, of our outreach. We are entrusted with protection of the lonely people, the hungry children, those in broken relationships, those who are oppressed and abandoned, the defenseless, the poor and the vulnerable.
He said: " It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, the ones who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God's gifts!"
He also said that "to be 'protectors', we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!"
What a clear message. What powerfully simple words. what a challenge to step forward and, like Saint Joseph, be a protector of the gifts received ... be a good steward of God's abiding love.
Thank you, Pope Francis for great words, a necessary reminder, and an excellent example. Pray for his ministry on the Chair of Peter.