In today’s Gospel, we encounter the second of three predictions by Jesus that he would die. Tragedy piles upon heartbreak as the disciples fail to understand, neglect to support, and are unwilling to walk with Him on his difficult journey to Calvary.
The quick and easy jump for us is straight to the guilt question: are we any better at responding to the Lord in his difficult journey than they were? I’d rather, though, strategize successful ways of walking with Jesus than wallow in the guilt question. You might be with me in that.
Simon of Cyrene was right there when Jesus needed him. We’re separated from him by centuries, but we’re side-by-side with any number of people stumbling under the weight of their burdens. The parishioners of the parish join with them in their needs in a number of hands-on ministries that are out in the courtyard today, not talking about how someone else should make a difference, but stepping right up, themselves, to do what they can – the good within arms reach.
Adopt a Family and Angel Tags both work to provide special assistance at Christmas time so that families and children can have a joyful Christmas. You can choose the scale of your involvement, either with an entire family or an individual child or senior. JustFaith forms small groups of parishioners seeking to deepen their commitment to care for vulnerable people and our planet through prayer, study, dialogue, and immersion experiences. Many Meals jumps right into people’s lives with a good, hot meal, served every Monday at St. Mary Magdalene’s, because people are hungry all the time, not just Thanksgiving and the other holidays. Pax Christi members advocate for personal nonviolence, promote global disarmament and the end to the arms trade, work for economic justice, and support universal human rights. The Peace and Justice Team seek to create education and service opportunities for parishioners to grow in understanding the social conditions and needs of our time. The St. Vincent de Paul Society members keep people in their homes, their cars working and the lights on before financial crises lead to homelessness and joblessness.
I focused on service ministries because of the Gospel, but I also encourage you to consider Centering Prayer, First Friday Adoration and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Novena, who invite us into deeper forms of prayerful communion with God. We also have more people helping make our Sundays possible than most other Camarillo churches have people attending, whether it’s serving as Altar Servers, caring for children in Stay and Play, providing hospitality after Mass in our Sunday Café, or in the pews as Hospitality Ministers. Eucharistic Ministers generously minister to us, while Weekend Welcome kindly receives us.
I encourage you strongly to consider what you can do to make a difference, accompanying Jesus on His way, and His least ones on theirs.