We are reminded in Paul’s letter to the Philippians today that the model for a good Christian life should look like this:
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
Rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
Each looking out not for his own interests,
But also for those of others.
So, what is the path that Jesus calls us to trod with these words?!
It is easy to put money in the basket for the monthly St. Vincent de Paul collection, or bring food for the food pantry. How much better would it be to challenge ourselves to take our good deeds one step further, maybe even two or three? We are all aware of the many needs all around the world. We cannot be expected to solve all the problems or make the world a better place overnight.
But, what about the needs of those closer to home? In our families, parishes and communities? Can we not ignore the unkempt appearance of the homeless person sitting on our church steps or outside of the grocery store, and instead offer them a chance to enjoy a home-cooked meal?! How about sponsoring that family of five who cannot afford the parish school tuition cost thus enabling them to have a chance to get a good education?!
The holidays are coming and with that comes a plethora of opportunities to help others less fortunate than ourselves. There is no shortage of help during this time for the needy. But what happens to those same needs when they come in January or May or July? People don’t schedule to be homeless, sick, unemployed, etc. on a certain month or day!
Paul also reminds us that we must:
Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus.
We are not called to be Jesus, but we are called to be Christ- like in how we relate to our brothers and sisters who are having a rough time. It’s amazing the difference we can make in changing our own attitude. So often we settle for the easiest path, one that will be less messy or take the least amount of time.
If we are really serious about being a follower of Jesus, then it is time to throw away our agendas, conquer our fears and put those ‘too busy’ attitudes aside. Time to walk the walk instead of just talk the talk! It has been said that all the promises in the world count for nothing if action does not follow.
We are challenged this day to put on Christ, to serve rather than being served. Are you up for the challenge?!
Theresa Secord is a Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.