Friday, July 18, 2008

An Axis of Hope?

World Youth Day 2008

What a week for the world. Every week we are confronted with another species that is endangered due to global warming. Every week we learn of the cost of war and violence, of human rights violations, of the excesses of greed and pride. This week is different.

This week, from two sides of the planet we heard words of hope, of reconciliation, of faith.

In Madrid Spain King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia hosted a three day Global Interfaith Conference. It is a beginning for a series of dialogues between faiths. The goal is not some warmed over, watered down agreement that we all can agree on such as liking rainbows and hugs. Rather it is an honest assessment of what the faiths of the world hold in common and where they differ. It is a call for real understanding, a call for authentic faith in action. The hope is that such a dialogue will free people of faith from confusing fanaticism and intolerance with the teachings of their faiths. The hope is greater peace, at home, in our families, our communities and between nations. We shall see.

On the other side of the planet the Holy Father arrived in Australia for World Youth Day 2008. Last night I watched him arrive in Sydney Harbor. I watched his ship sail into Barangaroo. The scene was wonderful. Here was the Successor of Peter surrounded not by cardinals and bishops but by youth from around the world. The poorest of nations found ways to send these young pilgrims to WYD. I watched him on the deck of the ship surrounded from youth from Africa, Oceania, the Pacific Rim, Europe and the Americas. It was a clear reflection of the Universal Church.

I watched as the Holy Father praised Australia for its act of reconciliation toward the aboriginal peoples of the nation. I watched as the Pope called for believers to work for peace and to care for the environment. I look forward to following WYD as it promises to inspire a new generation of Christians to live in love and peace with a world that needs to be loved.

So, it has been a good week. While these two events are monumental and will be markers in history I find myself wondering how many smaller markers, acts of hope occur everyday that are over looked. I find myself wondering how many miracles everyday go unnoticed.

Franciscans WYD

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