By MARY and BOB STRONACH, SFO
“There are Secular Franciscans all over the world. The church needs you. You are the pearl. Don’t hide that pearl!”
During an Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy on Friday afternoon, July 6, Pittsburgh’s Byzantine Metropolitan Archbishop Basil M. Schott, OFM, reached out to his fellow Franciscans and reminded them that they have a job to do.
“Be courageous. The message of Francis seems muted in the US and it is a message that can change the world, because it is the message of Jesus Christ,” he said. “You have to stand up.”
“Preach the Gospel,” he said, “by example. Witness is what is essential to preach the gospel.”
“God called us by name and sent us on our journey.” Sometimes, the journey takes on a life of its own not at all as we thought. “We are committed to the gospel life and we have to be a sign to the world,” he noted.
“We are called to be peacemakers. We are called to the simple life.” We should not complicate our lives with abundance of material things. “As followers of Francis we must be a sign of simplicity to the world and a sign of love,” he said.
“We are to love one another as Jesus loved us … And our enemies, we also have to love them,” he said.
Sometimes the “noise of unforgiveness and envy” keeps us from being open, from being a people of peace, simplicity and love. “What are the noises in your life that keep you from following Christ?” he asked.
We must also look at the crowds in our lives, he noted. We must take those crowds and turn them into “community.”
Another issue we may have is wanting to do things in a hurry, he said. “We must live in the present moment where God is.”
We must be patient with ourselves and think how noise, hurriedness and crowds are keeping us from being the sign we are professed to be, said the archbishop.