A Reflection by Rosemary M. Thompson, Executive Director, P. Francis Murphy Initiative for Justice and Peace
As we head into the second half of the first month of the year, we encounter the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Born on January 15, 1929, Dr. King would have been 85 years old this year. But he died at age 39, murdered in April of 1968.
Dr. King lived and was killed because he believed in new and better possibilities. He championed the call to nonviolent witness and was willing to make personal the sacrifices required of all Christians.
Each year we are reminded of his passion, commitment and dedication to equality through prayer and action. At the core of his message was a belief in the creation of the “beloved community.” Dr. King envisioned a society faithful to the ethic of Agape love ~ infinitely redemptive love. Agape love is one that is inclusive of friend and perceived enemy, grounded in the Gospel of Jesus who proclaimed, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
The beauty of taking time to celebrate the life of such a just and gracious man is that we can reflect on the men and women of 2014 who are pursuing those very dreams.
Immediately I think of Pope Francis I. Our new Pope came in like a breath of fresh air ~ he too has envisioned a better world fraught with possibilities.
In his New Year’s address, Pope Francis urged people to work for a world where everyone accepts each other’s differences and where enemies are accepted as family.
In his first year as Pope, Francis has charted a path for what he calls a “poor” church, a church attentive to the needy. “We are called to see the violence and injustices present in so many parts of the world, which cannot leave us indifferent and immobile.”
I think Martin Luther King would celebrate Pope Francis and with him declare:
“There is a need for the commitment of all to build a society that is truly more just and united; may the courage of dialogue and reconciliation prevail over the temptation for vendetta, arrogance and corruption.”
Bless you Pope Francis, happy birthday Martin!