Jesus also taught us that when we give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcome to the stranger, clothes to the naked, comfort to the sick, and when we visit the imprisoned we are doing so to Jesus himself. Many of our church’s formal ministries have been based on helping to meet these human needs. But, as Christians each one of us is asked by God through our baptismal calling to serve our brothers and sisters, especially those in need.
I am amazed by how many people I see who reach out on a regular basis to their elderly neighbors by giving them a call or stopping by for a visit. So many of our elderly brothers and sisters live alone, and that phone call or visit not only gives them much needed contact with others, it can also be life-saving! This past weekend with the bitter cold that descended upon us found our furnaces working constantly. If people run out of fuel in those conditions or if there is a power failure the temperature can quickly drop in people’s homes and become life threating. As we journey through the rest of this cold and windy time of year those who live alone can be in jeopardy. Many times it is that concerned and compassionate neighbor checking in on an elderly person, who is the one who finds them after they have fallen or are in need of help. Don’t forget to think of your neighbor.
The same concern and compassion can be applied to those we worship with at Mass each Sunday. That begins by getting to know one another. I encourage you to introduce yourself to the people you celebrate Mass with each week, especially those who sit around you. If you see someone new, introduce yourself and make them feel welcome. When we know one another better we are more apt to notice when someone is missing at Mass. If you notice that someone you usually see at church is not present, give them a call or stop by for a visit. If you find out that they have been sick, you could bring them some soup or a hot meal and let them know that you are praying for them. Maybe they are missing from church because they are going through a spiritual crisis, your concern and compassion towards them might help them to know that God’s love for them is real. It is often the little ways that we are there for each other that help us remember that we are a part of the Body of Christ.
Have a blessed Lent,
God of mercy, You have given us this special time to reflect on our lives,
believe in the Good News and draw closer to You. May this season of Lent
help us use this time to fast and pray, be more generous and show others
how to live in Christ. Let us see each day of this season as a new opportunity
to renew our lives and gain a deeper appreciation of Your active presence in us
and our community of faith. Give us the grace to see Your face in others,
especially the poor and those who suffer. And through your Spirit, enkindle
in us the fire of Your love so that we may be better stewards of Your redeeming
work throughout the world. We ask this through Jesus, Your Son.