It does not matter what your stance is with respect to Pope Francis. Whether you are Catholic or not, is irrelevant, for this pope is speaking out to the world. To all of us, he is giving us a message on how to live, how to conduct ourselves. By his actions and example, he is forcefully telling us to wake up, that our lives must change.

 “How can I say this”, you might ask. You may not agree with the pope’s religious beliefs. You may not care for Catholics or what they believe in. You might even dislike the grandeur (I would rather call it “respect”) that seems to accompany many of the Catholic ceremonies. Maybe, Christianity holds no appeal for you. Or possibly, you don’t believe in God, or maybe you think that there is no god. Maybe, you are an out-and-out hedonist, seeking just your own pleasure and gratification. Wherever you fall on the spectrum of belief, you still have a mind. You still have an intellect. You still, I presume, want to know the meaning of life and where yours is taking you.

 We read the newspaper and find out what the president says or does. We look at the news reports on the television and see what nations are doing, what rulers are saying. Or maybe, we just look at the news to see who is killing whom. My point is, we read, we are curious, we want to know. For having this knowledge will tell us how our lives will be changed, will be affected. We find out in this manner is there something that we should be concerned about? Be worried about?

Well look at what this new pope is saying and doing. He is telling us with his words AND his actions that things must change. He is showing us how to live, as he embraces drug addicts, as he speaks out that he is “not to judge anyone”, as he rides a bus, as he lives in regular quarters and not the papal residence. Do you think that he is doing this just for show? Do you feel he is living a lie? No, the man is being true to himself, true to his beliefs. This is Christ in action. The leader of the Catholic Church is telling us, “Enough is enough”. The time to reform ourselves, the time to change our lives is NOW. (Don’t just read this article, and possibly nod your head in agreement…but then continue on with your life as though it was just another polite nice thought and nothing more.)

I am telling you, here and now, ALL OF US must change. If for no other reason than for the state of the world, we must change. Nations are killing their peoples. Nations are attacking each other. Citizens are killing other citizens. People hate people. People use people. We have become so self-centered that we think only of our own needs. We don’t care a whit about anyone else. Have you ever lifted a beggar up off the street? Does he/she need a warm, hot meal? Or, do you see in them, some misfit, a drug addict, a loser? If Jesus could do it, if the pope can do it, why can’t YOU do it? Why? Really. WHY?

If you think that it is not inside you to do such things, then ask yourself these questions: “Is goodness inside you? Is the spirit of God inside you? Do you care about anyone else?” As Catholic Christians we have been given examples to follow, Jesus, Mary, the saints and now Pope Francis. Any one of them we could take as our exemplar, our mentor. They have lived lives, and are living lives, that are to be emulated, not just observed. To those who are not Catholic, not Christian, we say to you, “You are still a member of humanity.” Is your life helping or hurting others? If for no other reason than the common good, your life must go out to others, helping them, lifting them up and addressing their needs.

We see things happening in other countries, and also, in our own country and we come to the conclusion that this is how we are to act, that it is alright to act this way. Is this not the tail wagging the dog? Instead of living our life as we think we should, we are letting others determine what we are to do. no, No, NO, NO!

If you believe that there is a purpose for your life. If you feel that life is something to be shared with others. If you know in your heart of hearts that all of us are equal. Then, our actions to others, will be good actions. And these people, seeing what they have been freely given, how they have been treated, they will instinctively, want to pass that goodness on to others. Good diffuses itself. Goodness brings about more goodness. If a mile begins with a single step, then changing the world begins first with ourselves and our attitudes towards others. All mankind must begin to look at itself, and see what needs to be changed. Take a good, long, look at yourself, what do you see?

This way of acting is important enough to ask each of you who read this to pass it on to others, and so on , and so on. Let’s start to change the world.