The Gospel according to Luke (9:51-56)
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.
Today, we recall a very well-known saint of the Church, St. Vincent de Paul. I did some research on him as part of preparing today’s reflection and the more I read, the more impressed I became with his life and ministry! He truly was one who “resolutely determined” to share the love of Jesus with all, especially the less fortunate of his time.
I imagine that most of us are aware of the lay ministry, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which operates charitable services for the poor, including their large thrift store near downtown Los Angeles. I suspect that, like my parish of St. Rita, your parish has had one of their trucks to collect goods for that store. Deacon Ray, Deacon Steve and their wives all help the local chapter of St. Vincent de Paul at their home parish of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. They do such a wonderful work, and yet I know that the work to be done is far greater than can be done, even now.
That’s the hard truth – all of us followers of Jesus want to help everyone, so that no one has to suffer from hunger or homelessness or fear. But, the job is just too big (and unfortunately, only seems to be getting even bigger!). How do we not lose hope in the face of such realities?
Here’s what I suggest: all of us should be “resolutely determined” to do what we can to help those we can. I am very blessed to have my lovely wife Linda’s example in that regard. Linda has such a wonderful caring heart, and I hope over our time together that I’ve grown a little bit more caring, thanks to her example. I hope that I am more “resolutely determined” to help, and know that it is our loving Lord, speaking to me through Linda, to help me be more open to love and to care. Can each of us try to do that today?
Action for the Day:
First, say a prayer of thanksgiving for St. Vincent de Paul and his example of reaching out and helping those in need. Say a prayer of thanksgiving for organizations like the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the many volunteers who do make a difference in the lives of the needy in our own communities. And, finally, ask God to show you what you can do to make a difference, by loving and caring for those whom He places in your path, and that He may give you a heart to share the blessings you’ve received with another. You will be wonderfully blessed if you do!
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!