Let me preface this by saying I’m fully aware that there is a showmanship to being the pope. The pope’s job is to represent the Catholic Church around the world and this new pope has been doing an excellent job of rehabilitating the Church’s historically bad track record.
His visit to the United States is an interesting study in both religion and politics and it has the makings of a true historic marker for us to look back on. Pope Francis knows this. He also knows that the United States, with all of its wealth, not unlike the Catholic Church, needs to refocus its efforts of the forgotten people of our human race.
And the gesture Francis will make by going directly to lunch with homeless people rather than with his congressional hosts after his speech on Capitol Hill will resonate on both sides of the aisle.
“He is a walking, talking parable,” said Carr. “This is a Pope who looks at the world from the bottom up and from the outside in. I think he brings to Congress and the White House a different perspective than they are used to hearing.”
The parable is clear. Pope Francis speaks to one of the most powerful groups of people in the world and then has dinner with the most invisible people in the world. There’s also something even more profound in it.
By connecting this meal directly to his speech in front of Congress, he’s drawing a parallel to the Pharisees. A connection that no one wants made to them (regardless of your religious predilections).
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them.
14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
But we in the world of media need to take note, for it looks like Pope Francis is casting both the Congress and us as Levi.