|Fr. Jim Bacik lectures on Paul Tillich.|
This is the generation that grew up in the 1990s and early 21st century—a generation that is "hooked-up,” tech savvy, and range in types from extreme individualists to ecumenicals to evangelicals. My own grandchildren are among them, which peaked my curiosity about "millenials" even more.
I enjoyed reading Fr. Bacik's recent reflections on the new Pope, because this pope caught my attention early on, the fact that he was from South America and that he named himself Francis. Bacik agreed that was a great start, choosing the right name for the times, symbolic of the simplicity. compassion and openness of St. Francis. Pope Francis, moreover, has shown concern for the poor and vulnerable, lives simply himself, and has expressed interest in reforming and opening up the Vatican to the people. In these ways, Fr. Bacik believes, the new pope "signals hope for keeping alive the spirit of Vatican II and Pope John XXIII." That is saying a lot! I remember John XXIII and recall a visit to his church in Istanbul, which echoed with his compassion and enduring relevance.
As I left the lecture hall and walked slowly under the loggia of the Franciscan Center, rain pouring down, I saw the lovely tile commemorating Pope John XXIII. I can see why I was drawn to it after hearing Fr. Bacik's lecture on Tillich. I've always found Pope John XXIII a symbol of hope, the kind of symbol, Tillich might say, that opens the door to "ultimate concerns and ultimate faith." And amazingly, just at that very moment, a penultimate symbol emerged in the form of a beautiful rainbow across the sky. How heavenly the magnificence of our journey through life and our search for the universal and transcendent Holy Spirit. What hope lies over the rainbow.