At Masses on the last weekend of November we all celebrated The Solemnity of Christ the King. The Gospel reading was from Matthew 25:31-46. That is a reading that I am sure every Vincentian is very familiar with. It is my favorite Gospel reading, without a doubt.
In that reading, Jesus articulates, clearly and directly, what we are called to do if we are to be saved at the final judgement. He could not be clearer. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, care for the ill, and visit those imprisoned. Because when we serve those hungry, thirsty, naked, ill, strangers or imprisoned persons, we are in fact serving Him. And when we ignore those people, we are turning our back on Christ.
As I said, Jesus is clear and precise in what he says. He is also clear and precise in what he DOES NOT say. In all my 68 years of hearing the Gospel of Matthew, I have yet to hear a qualifier on those requirements for salvation.
Jesus said, “For I was hungry, and you gave me food.” He did NOT say “For I was hungry, and you gave me food because I lived in the Parish boundaries.”
Jesus said, “For I was naked, and you clothed me.” He did NOT say “For I was naked, and you clothed me because I resided in your Zip Code.”
That reading is something we should be contemplating as we look at the blessings which our Conferences have in money and people. And how we are using those blessings to help not only the people in our Parish or Conference/Council boundaries; but how we are proactively sharing those blessing with other Conferences and Council who may not be as blessed.
Twinning is a wonderful tool for us to serve our Brothers and Sisters in Christ who are not in our immediate ‘service area’. Twinning gives us a way to share our blessing with others who we may not see through our encounters with people we serve.
But are we being proactive in our twinning efforts, or reactive? Are we waiting for other Councils and Conferences to contact us, or are we reaching out and asking who needs help? Every time we pray in our meetings, we ask God to help us “Seek and find the suffering and deprived.” Are we actively seeking ways to share our excess?
Of course, we need to be good stewards of the gifts we are given, and we have to keep some of our funds in reserves to get through unexpected rough times. But once we have an adequate level of those reserves, we should be seeking opportunities to help the suffering and deprived.
As we enter this season of Advent and Christmas, let us dedicate ourselves to being proactive in becoming gift bearers to our fellow Vincentians near and far so that they may seek and find the suffering, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and follow Christ’s call to salvation.
Peace and God’s blessings,