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Opinion

Loving fidelity to the Church and the Pope  

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

The gospel of the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C, (cfr. Jn 21,1-19) reminds us that like the youthful apostle John, we have to rightly recognize Christ who is the personification of love that is the key to fidelity as told by Christ to Peter. It’s a gospel that also somehow reminds us that we have a grave duty to love the Church and the Pope.

We have to realize that we can only recognize Christ if we have the desire to do so, carrying out all the relevant tasks to convert that desire into reality. For this, we need to study the life, words and deeds of Christ as portrayed in the gospels and taught by the Church. We need to develop a growing life of piety, animated by the proper spirit and supported by some practices, like prayer, sacrifices, ascetical struggles, etc.

We have to realize that in everything that we do, the first, last and constant intention we ought to have is to look for Christ in order to find and love him. Only in this way can we be in a position to recognize Christ.

We should not just be contented with pursuing a natural or human goal in all the things we have to do, like meeting a deadline, complying with some requirements, achieving a level of efficiency, profitability, etc., which while legitimate can be dangerous if not related to the main goal of looking, finding and loving Christ.

We should be able to find Christ not only in our good and happy moments, but most especially in our difficult situations and predicaments when we are made to suffer or to feel that we are the victims, the receiving and losing end in our differences and conflicts with others.

We have to remember that only when we are with Christ can we have the true love that assures us of our fidelity to him and to any commitment we make before him. It’s a love that goes all the way, without counting the cost, and unafraid of all the sacrifices involved.

It’s the love that will always make us young, new and refreshed, in spite of the passing of years. It is self-renewing and creative, and never runs out of initiatives to look and try new ways of expressing that love in deeds. But it is also respectful of tradition and faithful to commitments made in the past and meant to last until death or forever.

It’s the love that is not afraid of problems, challenges, trials, failures, mistakes, difficulties, suffering, etc. It does not surrender to them even if death overtakes it. It regards them as opportunities and occasions to grow more in love, to grow more in trust in God’s loving providence where everything works for the good as long as we cooperate with him. It’s a love that will always fill us with peace and joy whatever the situation.

It’s this kind of love that would enable us to develop in a conscious way a great and realistic love for the Church and the Pope who, with the power given to him, connects us with Peter and ultimately with Christ.

Given the fact that the Church and the Pope have to maneuver in this tricky valley of tears, and thus, while holy, are always in need of purification, they need all the help we can give them. Let’s express that love in deeds and not just in good desires!

POPE

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