Sunday, May 4, 2014
Out of the woodworks
The arrival of Pope Francis to Jordan is only 20 days away and it is just the beginning of the drama that will consume many people. I walk around and say, “lessen the drama” and I make it rather clear that their drama is not my drama.
These are the days in which everyone belongs to the Catholic Church and wants to be part of the ceremony. I see through all that. It would be far better for someone to say, “I don’t go to church, but I’d like to be at mass with the Pope.” Speaking authentically is always much better. Why is it that people want to explain so much about their lives just to get what they want? It really is not very interesting.
So, I’ll stay back and let events unfold. Once tickets are available, people will be clamoring to get as many as they can even if they do not intend to go. They ask, “how much will it cost?” I tell them, “We are Catholics and this is mass. We never charge for sacraments,” and they stare blankly.
People linger and stare and breathe heavily. They want my attention. They want to make sure I know they are interested. The presence is heavy. A young girl and her father ran towards me the other day and wanted to let me know she was interested in a certain project. I said to the father, “Write down your daughter’s name and phone number,” which sent him into a panic because very few people carry a pen or pencil. Quickly, he found one. Then after mass, the girl came up to me and said, “My mother wants to talk with you.” I said, “Here I am.” So the girl went to get her mother who accosted me and wanted to know if her husband told me that her daughter was interested. I asked her if she asked her husband, with whom she was sitting, and she replied, “yes.” I said, “Then trust your husband and let it be. He did his job. Lessen your anxiety. I got the message.” And she told me again and again about her daughter’s interest. Perhaps, I’m supposed to share their anxiety.
Of course, I’ll attend the mass, but I think it would be much more enjoyable staying at home and turning on the television to watch the mass. While I love this pope, meeting him would be nice, but not essential. I do believe he is a saint. The fact that Jesus will be at the mass is more important to me. I want Jesus Christ proclaimed to the entire world.
I know I would get a better vantage point watching the mass on television and I would get translations because the mass will be in Italian, English, and Arabic. I know it will be hot, maybe sweltering, and that people will act poorly in order to brush elbows with this saintly man. I just want to pray for him, as I do every day.
It is remarkable that he is coming to Jordan, this part of the Holy Land on the east banks of the Jordan River. He brings a message of hope, dignity, reverence, and peace to many. I pray that his leadership will end the conflict in Syria, and will bring about reconciliation with the Western and Eastern churches, and I hope that greater tolerance and enrichment between Christianity and Islam results. We need God’s presence a great deal in this region of the world. May all be one.