How would I know for sure?
But, this Easter Sunday and 50-day season seems to have Catholics, among others, celebrating the selection of Pope Francis of Argentina to steer the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church these days of joy and festivity in Jesus' rising from the dead.
Francis' stories include the one with the media when this 'out-of-the-ordinary, non-curia-ever-experienced pope, far from a seeming company man' tells them that his cardinal acquaintance from Brazil warned him to 'remember the poor' and the 'Church of the poor' when Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio, 76, with Italian lineage was elected at the conclave to lead the 1.2 billion institution.
Smiles. Outgoing engaging with almost everyone who comes near. Riding on the bus beyond the limo. Paying up his hotel bill after named Pontiff.
Spontaneity. And, staring for minutes at the hundreds of thousands awaiting the new pope's appearance on the balcony of the Vatican weeks ago. Am I wrong to suggest that this Pope seems to know who he is in the Lord of Easter life. He's confident in faith, humble in dispostion, gentle and poor. A poor pope? YES!
Like one of the saints, among many, who sat daily in the last pew of an edifice, and, the janitor asked the saint what he was doing. "I'm looking at my God, and, my God is looking at me," the saint shot back quickly.
That's how Pope Francis seemed to stare long into his pilgrim people of God waiting to meet this Chief Shepherd that the current curia staff at the Vatican is not used to working with. That's how non-company men are. In fact, I find it curious how some so-called 'company men' clergy (who promise obedience even when a policy is blatantly wrong) jumped right in and claimed him as their own when some leaders distance themselves from the likes of prophetic, of truth-speaking-to-power kinds of shepherds. Well, look at Palm/Passion Sunday when Jesus was hailed as king, and, a few days later, on Good Friday Jesus is nailed to a tree. See here in living and vivid color the story of fickle followers of Jesus who want life - Easter Life - both ways. After all, one can't be honest about God's Truth and law of love, and, hypocritical in living out the simple mandate of Scripture/Tradition at the same time, can one?
Pastor. Teacher. Fracncis' litany list of loving attributes is winning the world.
Fellow companion on the journey who want to ride the bus, who seems to prefer the pancake paradigm beyond the pyramid and top down triangle of hierarchy, so much like the impoverished Francis of Assisi, a name the Pope claims he chose quickly after the cardinal from Brazil reminded him to be a pope of the poor.
Easter life is like that.
Pope Francis loves life, and, lives it to the full, it appears to me, at least. Francis reminds me to live, to live, don't die before your time. LIVE!
Parishioners are buzzing everywhere claiming they like what they see in Francis, the one who wants to be like one on whom his own shoulders rest: One who loved creation and all creatures, the environment, and, primarily, people made in God's image and likeness! People - all people, you also -
who matter like you do in God's eyes. Like Francis De Sales, or Francis Xavier, or Claire.
Go figure. Such clarity. Such simplicity about his ordinary job specs as the Shepherd next to the Risen One! Love and live Orders from on high from the lowly one born simply to morph you and me.
Francis grew up like many of us: Poor, or, middle class, who learned suffering early on, or later in life, and, the grief that comes with losing a lung, a love, or a loved one, and, growing in an impoverished land that's poor but full of faith! Grace does build upon human nature and experience as his Jesuit brother, Karl Rahner, SJ, fully and passionately professed. As Pope John XXIII believed also.
A pope to believe in next to an intimate God of evergreen hope, fresh flowers of Easter, and, blooming red or yellow tulip bulbs bursting with colors everywhere these days in the lives of struggling families, faithful catechists, nurses and nuns, physicians and paupers, sisters, lawyers and listeners, brothers, one and all with God's beloved disciples everywhere in the universal people of God making a huge difference across the land we're inhabiting for brief spans of time before passing over to heaven (unless you have other plans).
Francis shows the human fresh face of God who may let the family fully meet, talk, share, converse and decide what's best for the common good, for the faithful.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Long live Jesus, the Risen One!
And, may all of us live our our Christian days of Alleluia as Catholics, and more, with vigor, vibrancy and valor all the days of the Easter season and beyond. Vivat Jesus!
A blessed Easter, and, fresh adventure as companions on the journey with Jesus, Francis, among others, who walk with us in the 'ups and downs' of life's good and not so good days of our fragile and celebrated lives - the Easter Lamb of God arisen for ever and ever.