Today we have the annual collection for Together in Mission. Our guest speaker was supposed to be Maryann Reynoso, the principal of San Miguel School in Watts. However, she was not able to make it tonight. I am her replacement. My job is to encourage you to give to Together in Mission. My job is easy, since you are always generous in giving to this cause. So I am just going to encourage you to keep up your generosity.
I have seven reasons for us to give to Together in Mission. The first begins with a story. There was a young boy named Albert who one day got into a fight with another boy. Albert was from a well-off family; the other boy was from a poor family. Albert easily won the fight. The other boy said, “I’ll bet I could beat you, if I could eat good food like you do. Then I would be strong, like you.”
Albert came to realize how life can be unfair, and how he was on the lucky side. He eventually decided to dedicate his life to helping the poor. And Albert Schweitzer became famous as a medical missionary to Africa. By giving to Together in Mission we help make life fair.
Secondly, before I was ordained I work for a brief while at the Illinois State Prison in Joliet, IL. Before that time, I thought I had a very normal childhood. I soon realized that I had a fantastic childhood. So many of the prisoners there did not have the family I had, nor the education I had, the health I had, the faith I had. Some guys were going to first grade in the prison, trying to learn how to read and write -- at age twenty. No wonder they got in trouble. Once we realize how blessed is our normal life, the more we want to reach out to help those in need.
Thirdly, if you invest in the stock market, you want to invest wisely. You want to choose good stocks that yield a good return for your investment. Investing in stocks is one thing. Investing in persons is another.
By giving to Together inMissionyou are investing in the education of a human person. The returns are more than monetary. By your investment you share in the dividend of a healthy, productive life. And the return to your investment includes the gratitude of the people you helped. We are asked to invest wisely. Invest in people.
Fourthly, when we pray the Our Father, we say, “Thy will be done.” How do we know God’s will? One very basic way is to look at the needs of others, and look at what are the talents and abilities we have been given to respond to those need. This past week one person in Chicago saw the needs of the homeless for shelter in the extreme cold weather. This person paid for 70 hotel rooms for the homeless. He saw the need. And he had the ability to do something about it.
Fifthly, imagine that you were in a fire and your left hand and arm got burnt. With your right hand and arm you start to care for your left hand and arm, putting ice or salve or ointment to help heal it. Why? Because it is your hand and arm. It is part of you.
We, the baptized, are members of the Body of Christ. When one person suffers, the whole body suffers. We are one. So helping poor parishes and schools with Together in Mission, we are actually helping ourselves. We are one body in Christ. We, the right hand, are helping our left hand.
Sixthly, imagine the whole Way of the Cross. Who would you like to be in that event? How about being Simon of Cyrene? He helped Jesus carry the cross. What an honor and privilege. To help Christ. We can do that. Jesus said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, you do to me.” (Cf. Matthew 25:40) Giving to Together in Mission lines us up with Simon of Cyrene. We are helping Christ. What an honor and privilege.
Finally, Jesus is constantly calling us to love one another. Love is wishing another well and acting on that wish. Together in Mission gives us an opportunity to wish another well and do something about it. Wishing and doing. That’s love.
Thank you for your support of Together in Mission.