On May 29th St. James Place, where volunteers from our parish go once a month to feed the hungry, will have a steak dinner for everyone who comes that evening. For a number of years now the priests of our diocese have been asked to make a donation to provide the steaks for the evening festivity. It is something that I have been happy to do. We have also been invited to come and enjoy the meal. The interesting thing that happens when you go for this event is that everyone is given a blue t-shirt. They want everyone to look alike. Distinctions can’t be made between haves and have nots, between clergy and laity.
In our first reading this weekend from the Acts of the Apostles we see conflict in that early Christian community. People were making distinctions between the majority Palestinian Jews and the minority Hellenist Jews. The Hellenist widows were being neglected. The Twelve gather the community and have the community to choose seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, to this task of caring for the widows. In her reflection on this passage, Angie O’Gorman comments:
I am reminded of how often those “in charge” forget that those “in need” have an equally valid claim to the protections of the Gospel. Humanly created systems do not trump this. I am reminded here of Pope Francis’ recent admonition regarding divorced and remarried Catholics’ access to the Eucharist. “The doors of the sacraments” should not be “closed for simply any reason,” he said. “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
Where and how in our communities do we privilege the place of those in need of nourishment – of whatever kind? We all, at one time or another, are in need of nourishment. God help us if we do not grow beyond our own sense of privilege and seek instead the common good (Celebration).
In our second reading St. Peter says, “…like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house…” I imagine this spiritual house being one where there is great diversity and distinctions are not made that cause us to see others as less than. Rather the distinctions are ones where we see people having different gifts, but the same spirit. If anyone is given preference, it is because they have a greater need. The greater one may be considered, the more that person is called to serve. It is a house where all members are concerned for one another. We are the living stones that spiritual house is built of.
Parish pledge cards have been mailed to every registered member of the parish. If you have not filled out your pledge card yet, please take time to prayerfully consider what you can give to help your spiritual home and return your card.