Years ago I met a Jesuit priest, Father Fred Enman, and he told me about his charitable work of assisting the poor according to the Jesus’ teaching of feeding, clothing visiting, encouraging, etc our brothers and sisters in need. Father Fred called this work of his Matthew 25. Not original, but it does open a door to a new and exciting way of be a good disciple of Christ.
I ask myself: “What is a Christian’s concrete response after hearing the words of Jesus?” One good way of answering this question is to see ourselves in action. Do I put what I hear in gospel and at Mass into action? Does what Jesus teach really mean something to me? In what ways can I, as a disciple of Jesus, be a force for good work in my community?
Being a “disciple of Christ” is a question we don’t ask about too much, nor are many Catholics ready to ask that question. But I think we have to begin considering the implications of calling ourselves a Christian.
Fast forward a bit: I’ve been praying and hoping and trying to plot a path to make what Jesus teaches more and more concrete in our parish of Our Lady of Pompeii Church (East Haven) and in the greater New Haven area.
Charitable work is not about feeling good about oneself –though this is a wonderful consequence to to using our talents for the good others– it is the living of a relationship, a manifestation of God’s love for each of us personally, and how that relationship is translated into the reality of a community. Charitable work educates our heart; charitable work opens a door to friendship, charitable work eases the burden of others, charitable work shows that we can be in relation to another, etc. I could go on…