Depending not on our own strength, but on God’s guidance

| Deacon Manuel Gomez | April 10, 2013 | 0 Comments
Pope Francis receives his ring from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, during his inaugural Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 19. CNS photo / Paul Haring

Pope Francis receives his ring from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, during his inaugural Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 19. CNS photo / Paul Haring

It is already one month since the new successor of Peter was elected by the cardinals under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead and govern the Church. Pope Francis in this short period of time has already shown us great faith and humility. His words and his actions are visible signs of his total dependence in God. He recognizes his limitations and places his confidence in God because he knows that God is the one who illuminates and guides the Church.

Pope Francis’ first words still echo around the world: “Before the bishop blesses the people, I ask that you pray to the Lord so that he blesses me.”

With the blessing of God, he has begun not only the work of leading and governing the Church, but also the work of fishing for souls. The fisherman’s ring that he possesses is a symbol of that mission. It is also a symbol of his profound connection to St. Peter, the first fisher of men (Matthew 4:19). In asking for our prayers and blessing, Pope Francis shows that he recognizes that fishing for souls does not depend on his own strength, but in the Lord’s blessing.

This obedience and dependence on God is something that Peter, the first pope, had to learn. The Gospel of John describes the initiative and leadership of Peter in relation to the other apostles: “Simon Peter said to them, I am going fishing.” (John 21:3). The others disciples replied: “We also will come with you” (John 21:3), so they went to fish, but did not catch any fish.

Peter’s initiative by itself was not enough to catch fish. It was only when the Lord told them where and how to catch the fish that they caught any fish. Once Peter recognizes that the Lord Jesus is there with him and is the one in charge, he is able to fish and make a great catch.

It is in this moment that Peter receives the task of feeding and tending Jesus’ flock. Jesus gave Simon Peter, a man who professes his love to Jesus and feels sorry for having denied him, not only care of his Church but also his strength and guidance. Pope Francis, a man who humbles himself and recognizes his dependence on God’s blessing, is taking up this same task 2,000 years later.

Leading us closer to God

We are a part of this Church entrusted to Pope Francis’ care and guidance. He is striving to lead us closer to the Lord and his kingdom.

But we, too, are sent forth by Jesus to preach the Gospel. We, too, are called to love and to serve in our own homes, families and workplaces. We, too, are to fish for souls. So, let us follow in the footsteps of our pastor and guide. Let us ask for God’s blessing and guidance in our daily life.

Deacon Manuel Gomez is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Diocese of Rockford. His teaching parish is Mary, Queen of Peace in Rogers.

Tags: , ,

Category: Sunday Scriptures