In the second reading, today we are called to examine how we live out our faith in action. If we sit in our comfortable homes and simply say to people in need, peace be with you, stay warm and well fed, and do nothing to help change their situation then we are not really living out the gospel the way Jesus called us. Jesus did not minister to people from afar, he met them where they were. He met the samaritan woman at the well. He met the blind and the ill along the road. He met Peter on the shoreline, fishing (unsuccessfully I might add). He met them where they were and tended to their needs.
Clothing drives and food pantry collections are good things, and we need to continue to do them, as they help many in need. But we are called to go beyond that. We are called to take our gifts out into the world, meet people where they are, and make a lasting difference in their situation. Our Peace and Justice committee is starting to do just that. Through the Bread for the World letter writing, we are being a voice for the voiceless. Through the summer, members of our community have been helping with a refugee family. First to prepare a home for them, then helping them to learn English and get to appointments. There is another family coming the beginning of October, and we hope to assist them as well. Members of this group have also started working on Habitat for Humanity builds, hoping to do so at least once a quarter, providing families in the area with safe, affordable housing. Great things are happening, but we need everyone to get engaged to have a lasting impact.
Reaching out in this way exposes us. We need to sacrifice our time, we need to come in contact with a very different world than the one we live in. But if we can stretch ourselves to do so, we can in a very real way live our faith the way St James instructs us, the way Jesus calls us to love one another as he has loved us.
Deacon Phil Paladino