A living Gospel

Yo quiero ser un evangelio viviente
I want to be a living Gospel

Last night in El Zapote Santa Rosa, celebrating St. Francis their patron, the first hymn they sang in their procession had this refrain – “I want to be a living Gospel.”

El Zapote St Francis

In a way that is what Saint Francis is about, being a living Gospel, incarnate in the reality where people live. The subtitle of Lawrence Cunningham’s work Saint Francis  puts it well: “Performing the Gospel Life.”

But for Francis it was not an easy incarnation since it involved following the poor Christ, the God who became poor in Jesus.

How incredible is the Christian faith. We believe in a God who became flesh, who was born poor and lived poor. He could have had anything and saved us in any way, but he became one of us, one of the poor among us.

This week I spent a night with the volunteers at Amigos de Jesús, a home and school for children near Maquelizo, Santa Bárbara. I had shared with them a reading from Padre Pedro Arrupe about the poverty of Christ, part of which can be found here.

One of the women shared with us what she had been reading from a book called The Imitation of Mary. She noted that Mary, saying yes to the Incarnation of Jesus in her body, could have asked God for anything, but she chose poverty.

That remark reflects what Francis wrote in his Letter to All the Faithful:

Though rich beyond counting, He chose poverty, as did His blessed Mother.

How can we, the privileged from the United States, be a living Gospel, be Good News to the poor?

Francis was in many ways like many of us from the north – privileged. But he chose to serve the lepers, to live as one of the marginalized, and to follow the poor Christ by living poor.

What can we do?

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