A relationship with God is the most important thing to remember in difficult times, said Bishop John Noonan of Orlando at the opening Mass for the 132nd Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention. Bishop Noonan spoke Aug. 5 to 11 cardinals, 90 bishops, and around 2,000 Knights and their families from throughout the country and the world in attendance at Orlando World Center Marriott in Florida. “When I walked into the room and saw all these bishops and cardinals I was nervous and made a good act of contrition — I thought it might be my funeral,” he quipped before continuing the homily. “These past few months have been difficult and I am reminded of these words: ‘These are the times that try men’s souls,’…written by Thomas Paine during the American Revolutionary war,” Bishop Noonan said. “These words may ring true today to summarize the state of our world.” Among the challenges facing the world today are gridlocked, extreme politics, economic turmoil and a lack of respect for human life, particularly through wars and violence, the bishop said. “These are the challenges of life we face today and we ask — what will the future be like?” But even amidst suffering, God’s love is unconditional, Bishop Noonan said, and Pope Francis has especially showed the world how to live out the joy of the Gospel even in today’s troubled world. “He captures the world with his humility and simplicity,” the bishop said. “Riding on a bus with other cardinals, paying his hotel bill, riding around in a Ford Focus.” “Those of you who have a Ford Focus are honored — you have a Popemobile,” he joked. The Gospel reading of the day from Matthew calls into question our own faith, as we see Peter fail to trust Jesus as he begins to sink into the water, the bishop observed. “Jesus reminds him, and you and me, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt,’” he noted, adding, “Where is our faith today? Can we be called ‘of little faith?’” Peter finally puts his trust in Christ’s love after being asked by Jesus three times, “Do you love me?” And like Peter, we are called to accept the love of God in our lives as a transforming force in these trying times, Bishop Noonan said. “We too are challenged by the trials and tribulations of life; are we too busy or too self-confident to answer Jesus’ question, ‘Do you love me?’”
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