Our Holy Father wants to make sure we all take a vacation, and I know in the next few weeks, many of us will attempt to (some with more success than others, as I sit in Virginia, writing this message to you). However, vacations are not just to take a break, they are also to recharge our batteries to ensure we can be refreshed to engage even more deeply in our faithful mission. In fact, Pope Francis just this past weekend gave us some great marching orders before he himself went on vacation. He was speaking of the Good Samaritan, and Jesus’ reaction to the question posed about his parable:
I must not categorize others to decide who is my neighbor and who is not. Depend on me or not to be next – the decision is mine – it depends on me to be or not to be the next person I meet and who needs help, even if alien or even hostile. And Jesus concludes: “Go ‘and you too do’ good’. Good lesson! And he says to each of us: “Go ‘and you too do’ good ‘…. “Go and you too do so. Do good works, not just say words that go to the wind. I can think of that song: “Words, words, words.” No. Please, do. And by the good works that we do with love and joy to others, our faith germinates and bears fruit. Let us ask ourselves – each of us responds in his heart – let us ask ourselves: is our faith fruitful? Does our faith produce good works? Or it is rather sterile, and therefore more dead than alive? Do I do or simply step? Do I select people according to my own pleasure? These questions are good for us to discern and discern often, because in the end we will be judged on the works of mercy. The Lord will say to us: But you, you remember that time on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho? That man was half dead. Do you remember? That hungry child was me. Do you remember? The migrant who many wanted to drive out, it was me. Those grandparents alone, abandoned in nursing homes, it was me. Those sick in the hospital, that no one goes to see, I was them. – Pope Francis 7/10/16,
I hope you will all join us on August 4 for the CRS Helping Hands food packing event here at St. John. If you are not able to make it, or would like to contribute further, you can donate to our goal to make 20,000 meals for starving refugees in Africa by going to our website: http://helpinghands.crs.org/events/sjecc/.
There will be plenty of new opportunities for service, along with the dedication of our ministries that you should now be able to read about easily in our updated bulletin layout this week. Thank you all for being part of such a vibrant parish!