To find out. The Pope is often referred to as the «high pontiff», but what does pontiff mean? Derived from Latin, it means «bridge builder». The Pope is the builder of the bridge between God and men. Jesus Christ is the high priest and unified humanity with God, so the mission of his vicar on earth, the Pope, is to serve as a bridge. In his reflection on ‘The Facts of the Apostles’, Pope Francis explained St Paul’s attitude when arriving in Athens, a pagan city and the heart of Greece. When the apostle arrived, he was outraged to see the city full of idols, but instead of fleeing, he built a bridge for dialogue and to make known to the true God.
To think. Paul became acquainted with the pagan city. He went to the synagogue, to the square, and went to the Areopago, symbol of political and cultural life. Paul observed his pagan culture, but looked not at her with hostility, but with the eyes of faith. Thus he built a bridge between the gospel and the pagan world. He made an extraordinary example of inculturation of the faith: there was an altar dedicated to the «unknown god» and he takes it as an example to enter into empathy with his listeners: «Well, what you worship without knowing, that I come to announce to you». From there he announces the Christian message. He is almost unwelcome, but a woman, Damaris, and Dionysus adhere to her word and open themselves to the faith. From them faith will spread throughout the region. The Pope invites us to ask ourselves how we see our cities: with indifference? Contempt? Or with faith that recognizes God’s children?
To live. Like St. Paul, Pope Francis proposes not to lock ourselves in, but to ask for the ability to gently inculturate the faith.
Original source in Spanish