Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

12 December 2013

Person of the Year

"Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, 'Do you want to be well?' The sick man answered him, 'Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.' Jesus said to him, 'That question had two possible answers: yes, or no.'" (Jn 5:2-8a, except for that last part, which came to me in prayer.)

By the time I get to writing, someone else (often, several someones else) has written before me! If this lament were a subscription, today's issue would be the selection of Pope Francis as Time magazine's Person of the Year (henceforth, POTY). I've found several posts from first was "TIME Magazine Got it Wrong" by Daniel McInerny, "Why is Pope Francis TIME Magazine's POTY?" by Fr. Dwight Longenecker, and "Twitterverse Ablaze After TIME Announces Pope Francis as 'POTY'," a presentation of accolades from various sources who otherwise wouldn't be found in the same article.

Back to the opening Scripture quote. Jesus' actual response to the lame man was, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk." By divine power and human effort, a miracle. Just this evening, Jimmy Fallon declared Pope Francis' first miracle: he got people to read TIME Magazine.
It could have been Miley Cyrus
Jesus often directed people to do certain things in the process of demonstrating His authority in human affairs. So did Mary: she directed Juan Diego to gather unseasonal flowers in his garment and present them to the bishop--and a whole blasted continent more or less turned away from human sacrifice and learned of the Living God! Indolence, overcome through obedience.

Even though our Holy Father has won the accolades of the City of Man, he will not attenuate the Catholic Faith. Just you wait and see. But in the process, he may well both intelligently present the Faith and genuinely win people's affections. Some may wonder, invoking Our Lord's words, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you" (Lk 6:26); but I believe he will continue to deflect that glory whither it is due.

If the New Evangelization is all about glorifying God and actualizing self through generous and talented service--I'm game! It makes "Persons of the Year," only because it makes persons.

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