If you have been watching the news the past day, you know that Pope Francis bumped his head.
That’s right. It was the last day of his apostolic journey to Colombia. He was riding along in his Popemobile, smiling, waving and being the happy ad welcoming Pope we know him to be.
He turned to reach out to a child and “bop” – Papal face meets Popemobile. He got a little cut over his left eyebrow and cheekbone. The bruise looked a bit ugly, but after a little ice the Holy Father continued on his demanding schedule.
I was impressed that Pope Francis played through the injury. But a bump to the head was the least of the injuries he played through on this trip. I’m talking about spiritual injuries.
Pope Francis has called himself a sinner. He is human, so I take him at his word. (Of course, who am I to judge?) But he is farther down the path to holiness than virtually everyone else on earth.
He is the proponent of mercy and God’s love. And he went to Colombia with a message of peace and reconciliation.
So here is the man who wants a world of peace encountering a culture that has been at war with itself for 50 years. We’re talking oppressive governments, murderous rebel factions, drug lords, human traffickers, kidnappers and murderers.
He met with victims and heard testimonies from the hurt and some of those who did the hurting and mended their ways. He was visibly moved numerous times.
If Colombia didn’t offer enough challenge, the bishops from Venezuela dropped by to talk about the mess their country is in, the result of a horrible government with years of mismanagement and corruption.
In other words, the Pope had the difficult job of bringing the Good News to people who have heard a lot of bad news for a lot of years. And as soon as he got back to Rome, it was off to meet with his Council of Cardinals to consider more problems facing a world in turmoil.
It seems like there is no end to the pain and suffering the Pope witnesses, which has to hurt more than a bruised cheekbone. I’m impressed – and deeply grateful – that he maintains the joyful spirit that uplifts the rest of us.