There is no “them”, there is only “us”
Devotional Thought of the Day
Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another. Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians, and open your homes to strangers. Ask God to bless those who persecute you—yes, ask him to bless, not to curse. Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep. Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise. Romans 12:9-16 (TEV)
1. The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds. (1)
26 It is sad to see what some people understand by almsgiving: a few pennies or some old clothes. They seem not to have read the Gospel. Don’t be over-cautious: help people to acquire sufficient faith and fortitude to be ready to deny themselves generously, in this life, what they need. And to those who lag behind, explain that it is neither very noble nor very graceful, even from an earthly point of view, to wait for the last moment, when they will be obliged to take nothing with them.
In yesterday’s Gospel reading, Jesus made it clear that whoever would be first must be the servant of all. Note the period after the word “all”. He didn’t say all ‘of our friends”, or “all Americans”, or “all – insert your ethnicity – ” He said “all” and then the period makes it clear, He meant all. In last week’s reading from James, it was made clear as well, there is no priority based on wealth, power, or prestige. In God’s way of thinking, the president of a country (whether you like him or not) and a toddler are equal. The richest of businessmen is no greater than a 97-year-old shut-in, or the homeless guy.
As part of that family descended from Adam we are a family. One family. As believers, and I love the way Vatican II puts this, the joys, hopes, griefs and anxieties of everyone, we have a share in. It is from St. Paul we read these words originate – for He encourages us to share in the joy and sorrow of all – even those whom we count as our enemies and our adversaries. Our hearts need to break when we realize that people don’t know the love of God. Our hearts need to rejoice, even soar with joy as someone is brought to life and will abide in the presence of Christ.
We need to, as St. Josemaria says, to help people learn to deny themselves generously, to help those around them, to truly help them. Whether it is the family of refugees that we assist or the neighbor grieving, it doesn’t matter whether they are long-time believers, or of another religion, or anti-religious.
They need what every human needs. The love and mercy of God, shown through the people who know this mercy and love. Who know it because in their brokenness this love is shown to them.
Simply put, there is no “them”, there is only “us”.
Realize this – that when Christ said we are to serve all – He meant all of “us”. Go out and love with abandon. Rejoice with those rejoicing, weep with those weeping, and serve one another.
Lord be merciful to us!
(1) Catholic Church. (2011). Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: Gaudium Et Spes. In Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
(2) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 340-346). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on September 21, 2015, in Devotional, Vatican II and tagged Abiding in Christ, apostolate, brokenness, cHesed, humanity, love, Love your neighbor, mercy, St. Josemaria Escriva. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.