As most of you know, the Holy Father is now visiting the United States. This has been a great blessing in many ways. First of all, the very presence of the Successor of St. Peter and Christ's Vicar on earth is pleasing to God, and we certainly can do with some pleasing of God for a change in this poor nation. The Holy Father brings the presence of Jesus in a very real and powerful way wherever he goes. He is indeed a sign of God's love and mercy, manifesting the hope we have in Christ.
On the other end of the equation, the most gracious and grand manner that President Bush and the country welcomed the Pope is most edifying, for a change. This is a beautiful witness, and a sign of great hope, when a secular leader of the President's stature welcomes our Holy Father so wholeheartedly. This president has frequently shown such respect and Christian goodness in the course of his tenure.
In recent years Catholic leaders weren't always so universally welcome. The image of Mother Teresa of Calcutta receiving the highest honor this nation bestows upon a civilian, the Medal of Freedom, still sticks in my mind. She was given this prestigious award before a joint session of Congress. I was in Washington D.C. at this time, preaching at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The entire Senate and House rose to their feet and gave her a rousing ovation. The only two people I could see in the room who didn't were the former president and vice-president. There were others of their persuasion and political party who no doubt felt the same. This is unquestionably because Mother Teresa constantly and courageously gave witness for life, from the moment of conception to the last moment of natural life. She was a 'gadfly' and a reproach to their conscience. She was the enemy of abortion, euthanasia, and other such crimes against humanity. Some powerful politicians promoted such things. Some of them called themselves "Catholic."
The Holy Father and those faithful to him and to the Church Jesus built upon the Rock, which is Christ, with Peter (Rock) grafted into Himself, represent a sure and solid sign of the constancy and solidity of what we love and believe; the Truth! Often this world is like a desert with a sandstorm howling. Everything is blown about by the winds of mere personal opinions and false philosophies and ideologies.
The Pope, as the visible Head of the Church, is indeed a rock grafted into the Rock who is Christ himself. This is solid. This is constant and unchanging. Humanity craves the certitude of faith, not a torrent of doubts and fears. This is what the Holy Father brings wherever he goes. Let the storms blow and rage. Our house is built on solid Rock, and will stand fast throughout the changing times until Jesus our Hope comes again in glory.
God bless you,
Fr. John Corapi