By Peter Ahn
FORT LEE, NJ (September 29, 2015) — Peter Ahn, pastor of Metro Community Covenant Church, was among 400 clergy from around the United States invited to be part of an interfaith gathering during which Pope Francis spoke last Friday at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
Below are his slightly edited reflections on the day that were posted on his church’s blog.
Pope Francis communicated boldly that no matter what we believe, we must not use our beliefs to hurt one another. Rather we must learn to respect and live in peace. His words rang with authority and power as we were sitting in the very place where the World Trade Center towers collapsed 14 years ago.
Afterward, I had the privilege and honor to meet Pope Francis briefly. We greeted each other with a handshake and I was able to say, “God bless you.” It was an honor to meet the most influential person in the world. I will be forever grateful for the invitation to be a part of this special gathering.
What is fascinating to me is to see how the world has fallen in love with Pope Francis. Clergy from different faiths were kissing the Pope’s hand on Friday showing the utmost respect for this man of God. Pope Francis is not trying to be spectacular or fascinating. His goal is to be a real Christian. One who follows the example of Jesus Christ.
Many of us have believed in the lie that if we live out our Christian faith, people will reject us, and some form of harm may accompany our lives. Though this may be true in other parts of the world, I believe Pope Francis is showing us how much the world is craving to meet real Christians. More than admiring the Pope from afar and marveling at his Holiness, I hope and pray that his life, but more importantly, the life of Jesus will inspire you to be a witness for Jesus.