Who is the hungry person in our midst? Who are the people we pass by?
Christ cry is: “You are shepherds, you are not spectators!” The question is: How do you shepherd other people? Here are some examples:
On Thursday November 20, ten Toll Brothers executives participated in a Sleep Out at four different Covenant House shelters along the east coast in an effort to raise awareness and money to support the life-changing work that is being done there to help homeless youth.
The Board of Directors of Malvern Retreat House recently decided that Malvern needed to begin reaching out to people. Thus they came up with two ideas:
- “Men in Transition” retreats. 40 men recently attended. There is also a similar one for women. Malvern charges nothing for these retreats.
- “Pope Francis Bearers of Hope Scholarship Fund” to allow men/women to attend a retreat who might not have the financial means to attend a weekend. In this way, Malvern is providing a way to “shepherd” people around them.
The “Food Drive” here at St. Monica has been overwhelming. One of the engineers who was recently looking at our property was in the auditorium and saw the stage filled front-to-back and side-to-side with food bags. His comment: “That’s remarkable! You certainly have a lot of generous people here.”
We will once again have a “Giving Tree” here at St. Monica during Advent. This year we have begun to work with T/E Cares as recipient in supporting their Holiday Drive.” They are thrilled that the Catholic Church, is reaching out in such a significant way beyond the confines of the Catholic ghetto to support non-Catholics.
Even on the midst of our own personal challenges, today’s Gospel reading is a reminder of “The hungry person in our very midst” and the “people whom we pass by.”
People who you pass by” are people in your neighborhood – and they’re hungry. Some are starving, perhaps not physically but spiritually or emotionally (although, certainly, there are people in Berwyn, Tredyffrin and Easttown who are struggling financially, and are maybe even physically hungry).
Mother Theresa once said, “You don’t have to go to India to find opportunities to serve the poor. Look for opportunities where you are.” Shepherding other people can be done by contributing to a food bank or simply making a phone call.
And understand some important spiritual points:
- This cannot be driven by guilt.
- It’s not the quantity or quality of the charity / outreach that you perform that’s important. It’s your intention.
- Even the littlest action – done with an imperfect intention – is important in the Kingdom.
- You are here for a reason.
God knows me and calls me by my name.…
God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
Somehow I am necessary for His purposes…I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.
Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; In perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain;
He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me still He knows what He is about.…
There is another story of Jing and Charles Starrett and their two children and a project they “adopted” called “The 365 Experiment.” They decided to “intentionally” live their values in their lives every day, and – each day – to write about their experiences. Some days what they experienced was mystical. Some days what they experienced was exasperating. Some days what they experienced was not so clear but was gray and cloudy instead. Nevertheless, for one full year, every day, they wrote down their experiences. They described their ideas behind the project:
We are a family dedicated to living consciously and to bringing all our actions more-and-more in line with our values each day. We have chosen to create work that feeds both our souls and our family because we believe that each soul comes to life to play: to explore, experiment, experience and expand for joy, abundance, vitality and a sense of completion beyond accomplishment or success!
Do you ever dream of a life that is in line with your desire to move from your passion to action, intention to manifestation, and imagination to creation? Do you ever wonder if you could live your dreams while feeding your family, paying the bills, mortgage and kids’ tuition, and saving for your retirement? Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be your own boss, the captain of your soul, and pursue your true hue?
Figuring out what to do with your life isn’t just about self-examination — it’s about examination of the world you live in. Theologian Frederick Buechner puts it this way: ‘Your vocation is where your greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need’.
‘Your vocation is where your greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need’.
We are the best version of ourselves, when we are giving rather than getting. And we don’t have to go to India to do this. We can certainly do this globally. We can certainly do this internationally or nationally. We can also do this as an individual. We can do this locally. We can help an entire group of people. W can appeal to just 1 person—
Who is the hungry person in your midst? Who are the people we pass by? ‘Your vocation is where your greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need. God knows you and calls you by my name. God has created you to do Him some definite service, which He has not committed to another. You have a mission.
Audio version of the homily is here: