Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with Pope Francis: Seeing Those Closest to Us

A Word from Pope Francis

In our imagination, salvation must come from something great, from something majestic: only the powerful can save us, those who have strength, who have money, who have power, these people can save us. Instead, God’s plan is different.

Thus, they feel disdain because they cannot understand that salvation comes only from little things, from the simplicity of the things of God. When Jesus proposes the way of salvation, he never speaks of great things, but only little things. The little thing is represented by bathing in the Jordan and by the little village of Nazareth. Disdain is a luxury that only the vain, the proud allow themselves.

Taking the Word to Heart

Read: 2 Kings 5:1–15a; Luke 4:24–30 

Every day people begin extreme diets because they simply can’t believe that losing weight is simply a matter of burning more calories than they consume. Exotic dietary supplements and steroids in sports fuel the belief in a magic formula to ensure victory when hard work and training isn’t enough. Ads for new pharmaceuticals herald the next cure for whatever disease is holding us back. We overlook the simple, everyday ways to better health and wellbeing because they don’t make any remarkable claims to instant results.

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Our technology and communication methods might be twentyfirst century, but the impulse to seek a spectacular, magic solution to the common plight of humanity is as old as our Scripture readings today. Naaman seeks healing, but he’s also hoping for a great spectacle from the famed man of God. The people in Jesus’s hometown are hoping that he will wow them with the wonders they’ve heard he performed in other towns. But he disappoints their expectations and they fail to see the wonder that he is. 

The virtue of humility reminds us that the ordinary and the everyday is often where God’s gifts shine most brightly. The quiet person we overlook in a meeting might have the solution to a vexing work issue. The chicken soup your grandma made when you had a cold really does have healing properties. The friend who listens patiently while you work out a difficult time in a relationship isn’t giving you advice about a quick fix, but the solution you discover in the process has long-lasting effects.

Bringing the Word to Life

Lent is a fine time to examine our attitudes toward everyone in our lives. Take time to acknowledge some contribution by someone you have previously overlooked or dismissed as insignificant and unworthy of recognition.

Pope Francis Prays

Lord, give us the grace
to understand that the only way to salvation
is the folly of the Cross,
the annihilation of the Son of God,
of his becoming small.

Hope of Lent Franciscan Media book


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