Lessons of the "penitential pilgrimage" of Pope Francis to Canada

Lessons of the "penitential pilgrimage" of Pope Francis to Canada

By Fr. Bernard Holzer, aa


 The past teaches us that “colonization and genocide” start when believers "became worldly, and rather than fostering reconciliation, they imposed their own cultural models."  And Pope Francis went on to emphasize that "this attitude dies hard, also from the religious standpoint."

To be Jesus’ disciple is demanding:

 "It may seem easier to force God on people, rather than letting them draw near to God. This is contradictory and never works, because that is not how the Lord operates. He does not force us, he does not suppress or overwhelm; instead, he loves, he liberates, he leaves us free. He does not sustain with his Spirit those who dominate others, who confuse the Gospel of our reconciliation with proselytism. One cannot proclaim God in a way contrary to God Himself.”

"While God presents Himself simply and quietly, we always have the temptation to impose Him, and to impose ourselves in His name. It is the worldly temptation to make Him come down from the cross and show Himself with power. Yet Jesus reconciles us on the cross, not by coming down from the cross.

… Even today there is the temptation to manifest Jesus with the power and influence of the institution and its structures, with the appearance of projects that we think are working “without God, relying on human strength alone."

During this week, how can I meditate on these reflections of Pope Francis, and listen, dialogue and encounter my neighbor more?

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