Friday, April 9, 2010

Accepting God's Call, While Others Reject It

As reported in the news, Archbishop Jose Gomez, who was born in Mexico, has been chosen by Pope Benedict to become the next leader of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. LA is the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States. According to Catholic blogger, Rocco Palmo, Archbishop Gomez who is considered young for the appointment at 58 years old is, "Humble, prayerful and reserved, theologically conservative and spiritually fervert." He is also a priest of the conservative and somewhat mysterious religious organization, Opus Dei. He is the highest ranking member of Opus Dei, in the Catholic Church. (As most people know, Opus Dei was made famous in popular culture by Dan Brown's best-selling work of fiction, the book, "The Da Vinci Code.")
At a recent news conference,  at the city's magnificent Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the Archbishop was introduced by Cardinal Mahony. Cardinal Mahony will be retiring on Feb. 27th, his 75th birthday. Archbishop Gomez, who is presently the Archbishop of San Antonio, got a little emotional at the news conference, which is a good sign. It shows his humanness at the extraordinary mission he's been given. He said, "I was born in Mexico, my sisters still live there." (His voice was shaking.) "I am very proud of the Mexican love for life and family and faith that first turned my heart toward God." As the Archbishop spoke about his humble beginnings, he had to stop to take a drink. He continued, "This is getting a little emotional-forgive me." He then commented that he was drinking only water. I watched the video of the news conference, a great thing about the internet. 
I've thought about the words he spoke. He credits his Latino love for life, family and faith for helping him to turn towards God. His heart turned towards God and that turning, that accepting of God's call put him on a path that would ultimately lead him to a very important role in the Catholic Church, at a crucial time in Church history. It seems he's up for the task. 
Whenever I hear about God working in extraordinary ways in someone's life, I always think of the Scripture passage, "With God, all things are possible." For believers, we see that truth happening all the time. When we accept God's call and are faithful to God, in all situations and trials in life, then amazing things can happen, as we see happening in the life of Archbishop Gomez. He will be a Cardinal someday, as the leader of the Archdiocese of LA is traditionally a Cardinal. I can only imagine the celebration and tears of joy and pride that will bring to the Latino community throughout the world, ( of course to his immediate family as well) when he becomes a Cardinal.
The Latino community in California is uplifted by the good news. One woman was quoted as saying, "Someone who speaks the language and understands the culture is going to be different. I think he is going to pick up the pieces here." Many blessings and God's abundant grace....for Archbishop Gomez.

I was going to continue blogging about the sad news of people who choose to reject God's call. They gathered on Easter weekend as they always do, and this past Easter they were "celebrating" that their numbers are increasing. Sadly, atheism is on the rise in America. But that story is for another day.
For those of us who believe in the mystery and goodness of God and all that entails, we rejoice and live in hope, especially during this Season of joy.