So what does this “life” look like? In one way it isn’t hard at all to recognize. Jesus said it may be as simple as giving a cup of water to someone who is thirsty. I think we all recognize it as the way people should relate to one another – acts of compassion, sacrifice, healing and helpfulness – extended especially to those who are in need. There is hardly anyone who hasn’t been moved in seeing this kind of life, or fulfilled in giving it, or blessed in receiving it.
This is what Pope Francis has touched, I believe, with his message and actions of inclusion, of compassion, of simplicity and solidarity with the poor, in fellowship with Jesus. He has been such a breath of fresh air, not just to Roman Catholics, or even only to Christians because, whatever you may think of his policies or pronouncements, he has touched what we recognize as authentic faith.
In this endless election season, when the word “Christian” is used in the media to refer only to those who hold exclusive and narrow doctrinal views, it is good to be reminded of what is universally life-giving about a faith that touches human life in simple and profound ways.