Memorial of St. Pius X, Pope
Pius X grew up in abject poverty–sometimes, he would even have to walk to and from school barefoot to save money on shoes. He was under no illusions that everything about the world was sunny and pleasant. So how did he live out Jesus’ command heard in the gospel for his feast, “feed my sheep” (Jn. 21:7)? He increased access to the Eucharist. He lowered the age of first communion to seven, and encouraged people to receive the Eucharist much more regularly. He knew his own limitations, and that he could only give the Church so much on his own. So he gave them Jesus.
Like Pope Pius, we are all too aware of the problems in the world today. We all have some experience of its brokenness. We likewise have some experience of our powerlessness in the face of that brokenness. We want to help, we want to make things better, but sometimes we can’t. Whether it is brokenness we are experiencing in our own lives or witnessing in the lives of those around us, we will eventually come up against our limitations. But we can bring them Jesus. When Pope Francis was concerned about war in Syria, his first reaction was to lead people in prayer before the Eucharist. For both Pope Pius and Pope Francis, their response to Jesus’ command for Peter to “feed my sheep” has been to lead people to Jesus. We may not be able to fix everything, but we can lead people to the One who can–we can lead them to Jesus.