Pope Francis knows how to make people feel welcomed.
Pope Francis never seems to stop finding ways to be welcoming. He sees beauty in individuals rather than stains and differences. He appreciates how human needs are often more important than what may be correct.
A good example occurred a while ago, when Pope Francis was speaking to families who had brought their infant children to the Sistine chapel children for baptism. He said these comforting words to the apprehensive parents, “Let them eat when they get hungry.”
The Pope was referring to the hunger the children may feel during the long ceremony. He wanted the mothers to feel free to breastfeed rather than be embarrassed or squeamish to do so.
Pope Francis made a simple, but necessary human need sacred and hospitable. Through his human and pastoral touch, he lifted a everyday act into something wholesome and beautiful.
Pope Francis’s action starts from a simple truth that babies get hungry even while being baptized. He simply wanted these mothers to feel free to breastfeed their children.
Pope Francis observed this human moment, named it for what is was, made a pastoral decision. By doing so, he won hearts. The result is that everyone who heard the Pope’s gentle and kind words came to love Jesus more dearly because in Francis' remarks they saw Jesus. This same experience captivated Jesus’ listeners in his time and continues in those who hear him today. Humanity worn on divinity always gleams brightly.
Many people liked Jesus before they decided to be like Jesus. A good example is the Samaritan woman sitting at the well. She liked Jesus at first, listened to His words, became His disciple, and then she told everyone she met about Him. Again, humanity worn on divinity always gleams brightly. Zaccheus did the same thing when he met Jesus. And soon enough they were dining together.
Pope Francis understands this and makes welcoming and comforting others two chief qualities of his ministry. This human behavior of Pope Francis is a worthwhile lesson for all Jesus’ disciples to learn.
First, be welcoming and comforting. Then give everyone respect no matter who they are. Finally, respect everyone’s honor and dignity. And before long they may become like Christ because they see Him in you.
It’s a novel approach, but Christ founded a church on this crazy idea. Today we have many opportunities to fill our churches by being welcoming and comforting. It worked for Jesus, it works for Pope Francis, and it can work for us too. So, be like Pope Francis and find ways to make people feel welcomed because that is Christ coming alive through you.