Love & Charity, Now

Posted on October 24, 2023 by Published by

We need God and each other more than ever. The Gospel command to love God with our whole heart, soul and mind, and our neighbors as ourselves, brings this reality home. In a nation where we enjoy food, having our necessities met, comfortable homes, a good education and innumerable pleasures, it is easy to fall into pettiness and to judge others based on these aspects of life. With so much abundance, we begin to incorrectly think we are self-sufficient. Instead of seeing our neighbors as those we should love, we view them as competition.

I was fortunate to grow up in Poland during Communist rule. Fortunate? Yes. During that time, my family and many other families went without food, new clothing, furniture, a car, and other things we take for granted in the United States. This poverty was actually a gift because it pushed us to rely on God and the good will and sacrifices of others. At that time, new boots were scarce where I lived. As a newly ordained priest, I was in need of boots so I could walk in the remote area of my parish. I will never forget the lady at a local store who, when she got a new pair of boots, put them aside for me and snuck me into the back of the shop to give them to me while a line of people waited outside to buy what few items were on the shelves.

In her kindness, the store owner knew I was in need. Our seeming poverty was a richness in that it brought us together, to help each other, to appreciate the small things, human kindness, and simple hospitality. We had to work together to survive not only a brutal regime, but also the elements.

The world today is on edge and, based on what many parishioners have shared, you are as well. Our future is uncertain. With this in mind, I invite you to take stock of the Gospel message and to make an effort to practice charity among your family members, colleagues, and fellow students. The truth is: we don’t know when the good times will end. The time may come when we will need to rely on good will and charity from others. That person you despise today might become the person God sends to help you later. We won’t have time to judge others based on wealth, possessions, or status. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said:

“If you are too busy judging someone, you don’t have time to love them.”

So let us get on with leading truly Christian lives, and seeing and loving each other as God loves us, not only because He commands it, but because we don’t know what the future holds.

Yours in Christ,
Father Arthur

Readings for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Lectionary 148

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