Today's reading from the Second Letter to the Corinthians presents us with the very familiar phrase: "Ambassadors for Christ." While it is familiar, it always seems to startle me when I read it or come upon it in my prayer.
Ever since the recent conclave which elected Pope Francis, I have been watching the various news reports and videos that appear on the web site www.romereports.com. One of the occasions that appears frequently on this web site is the reception of an ambassador by our new Holy Father. All of the occasions include photo ops with both the ambassador and his family and staff. Once the cameras are finished with their work, the pope generally invites the newly received ambassador to sit for a few moments of conversation. I am impressed with the fact that the Holy Father always seems to raise the issue of the poor in those conversations.
These video news reports do not go into great detail about the conversation. It would be interesting to hear what the ambassador has to say to the Holy Father about the issues that he raises. However, I come away from the news reports impressed with the Holy Father's dogged determination to raise the level of concern for the poor from a topic of conversation to a plan of action.
I am usually reminded by these reports that while the Holy Father is perhaps the most visible ambassador for Christ, I am also called to that role. My efforts as a teacher and a preacher all fall under that designation. Concern for the "new evangelization" impetus continues to dominate my day to day dealings with others. While friendly banter about baseball, the Stanley cup finals, and other topics of concern are conversation starters, we are all called to proclaim the Gospel both by word and deed. We are, after all, all ambassadors by virtue of our baptism.
Acceptance of the limitations that my chronic illness and my disability place upon me challenge me and all CUSANS to find ways to proclaim the Gospel through our day to day lives. CUSANS have a unique opportunity to bring this particular cross to bear on every human encounter that rises.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator