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I have to honestly say that the gospel was proclaimed last week by Pope Francis much more clearly than it usually is in most U.S. churches, including his own Catholic church, the evangelical church I grew up in, and in most of the congregations Americans attend each week. The gospel we heard last week was clearly one that could and should transform a culture, rather than the services and sermons we hear week after week that are so conformed to the culture. Pope Francis proclaimed the gospel to me again and again, all in ways that were confronting, humbling, and renewing. Hearing the gospel preached every day with such eloquence and power — while seeing it lived with such authenticity and integrity — showed me how far I fall short of the things I most dearly and deeply believe. It often drew me to the prayer: "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner." The greatest blessing of the week was how mercy was at the core of Pope Francis’ message to America. Mercy and the grace of God was the homily last week, more than the political soundbites too many of the media pundits were looking for. Millions of us walked forward, in person or in spirit, to receive the bread and the wine from Pope Francis and said,

"Thanks be to God."

(from Jim Wallis of Sojourners)


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