Almost all of us have an interest in the process now underway to select the new Pope, the new Roman Pontiff. Furthermore, we and all Catholics have a spiritual responsibility to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this selection process. All of us will be affected by the selection. We pray that the new Pope will be a holy person, able to lead and guide us closer to Jesus Christ, who alone is our salvation.
But I would also like to express a reservation. The constant and rather frenetic media coverage of this event could easily lead us to overstress the direct importance to us of this election. After all, it is in our home parish that our faith life is mostly lived out. To a very great degree, like politics, all religion is local. While the election of a new Pope does matter, the day-to-day impact on each of us pales in comparison to what happens, or fails to happen, right here in our local parish community. This is where we pray, worship, learn, work together, and by-and-large this is where we meet the Risen Christ. That far exceeds in importance for us what happens at the conclave in Rome.
So I encourage you not be distracted by the media hype. The Body of Christ we meet, that we belong to, is right here in our local parish community.