Pope Francis and the “Culture of Encounter”

On Wednesday, Pope Francis gave a riveting homily, reflecting on the words of Jesus in Mark 9:38-40:

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone throwing demons out in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.” Jesus replied, “Don’t stop him. No one who does powerful acts in my name can quickly turn around and curse me. Whoever isn’t against us is for us. (Mark 9:38-40 Common English Bible)

The type of faith that Pope Francis describes in his homily is the type of faith that, I believe, Christ calls all of creation to. A faith that unites all of creation into unity with God’s plan for us…not converting all people to “Christianity” so that everyone believes the same thing. Not requiring all people to say a prayer of conversion or confession and becoming “saved.” “‘Doing good’ is a principle that unites all humanity, beyond the diversity of ideologies and religions, and creates the ‘culture of encounter’ that is the foundation of peace.”

After discussions of Pope Francis’s words online, someone brought a verse from the Qur’an to my attention. I find it also quite beautiful and poignant to this discussion:

Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve. (Qur’an 2:62)

This week, in my hometown of Louisville, the Dalai Lama visited. He spoke about human understanding and love and peace and compassion, and spoke about these things surpassing all religions and creeds.

I find it so very refreshing to see these discussions being had among people of the same faith tradition and between people of different faith traditions. I hope and pray that people will be more open to stepping outside of their boxes in which they were raised and in which they live, and view the world through fresh, youthful eyes, to see the absolute wonder in all of creation and the way in which God manifests Godself to all of us through a myriad of ways.

Read more of Pope Francis’s words on the Vatican Radio website here:

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/05/22/pope_at_mass:_culture_of_encounter_is_the_foundation_of_peace/en1-694445

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