|Preaching the Gospel with his life. Image from News.va.|
There is something about all this that powerfully illustrates the ministry of Jesus; I see him, besieged by throngs in pain. But he doesn't see a sea of pain, or distorted limbs, or frenzied, depersonalized souls. He sees people, one by one; gives himself to them, one by one. Calls them each by name. Even the ones that the society of his time considered beyond the pale. Aren't people like Vinicio Riva precisely the ones whose lives would not be considered worth living? He himself experienced a lifetime of ridicule and rejection--which made the Pope's cordial and unforced welcome all the more impressive. Pope Francis is illustrating that every human person has an innate dignity that has nothing to do with health or status or condition. There have been some Catholics for whom Pope Francis is not "pro-life" enough. I think they may need to look again.