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Friday, November 9, 2012

I Need Your Help!

A few weeks ago on Sunday.. After Mass my Priest stands up after the announcements and begins to share a need and asked us all to help.

With words of urgency and hand jesters to communicate to all of us sitting in our pews…. Our Pastor begins to share with us this great need to help him with an emergency that cannot wait.

What was the emergency?

Fr. Tony: “My Parishioners I need your help! I have just got word that a family has just crossed the border and has no place to stay. They have a young child, no food, no money and need some immediate help.”

We all sat in our familiar pew…taking in his words…speechless for a moment.

Then one lady spoke up.. “We own some rent houses and I might be able to let them stay in one…but I need to speak with my husband before I can give you an answer.”

Fr. Tony: “that will not work I need a commitment now! They need a place tonight and I need someone to step up now and help!”

As I sat in my pew I nudged my husband…. And whispered, “Whatcha think?” He responded back with a “No!” as he squirmed in his seat.

Fr. Tony: “Come on folks I need someone to help! And I promise I will help in any way to make the transaction to your home go well.”

I raised my hand… “Fr. Tony so how old is the child?”

Fr. Tony: “about 2-3 years old.”

I nudged my husband again…. “they have a baby.” He replied…while squirming closer to me.. “They probably do not speak English.. how are we going to communicate with them?”

As I sat there… taking this all in, I could only think of this baby. I also thought about the RV we owned. They could stay in there for just one night.. we could pray about it and understand more of the situation when they arrived. This would not really be committing us… it would give us a way out? If….. this cramped our lifestyle?

So, I raised my hand again… without my husband’s permission.. thinking to myself… self… “Sure I might get in trouble without his permission…but he will come around.. He always does and who knows we might be missing out on a blessing here.”   With my hand raised… “Fr. Tony! We have an RV we can let the family use tonight. I am not sure about the long term part yet…need to pray about it.. but, they can have a place to sleep tonight.”

Oh my gosh…what have I got us signed up for? … uggggg.. my mind was going in all directions as I finally utter a “Yes” we will help. As my mind swirled from one thought, to the next… thought… I was committed and there was no turning back.. But, I reminded myself.. “It’s just for one night.”

So, here comes Fr. Tony toward us…carrying a bag. Oh my! what is in this bag? Must be some of their belongings they need or directions or tooth brushes with toothpaste? What have I done?

So I ask you… as you read this.. pause and think…what would you do? A BABY! A FAMILY needing HELP! Was I wrong in making this commitment? 

My heart and my anxiety grew stronger and stronger as Fr. Tony walks towards us with this old looking, crumpled paper bag… He finally arrives at our pews where we are both sitting and hands this bag to us…. “Here is your family.. it is the Holy Family they have just crossed the border and are fleeing to Egypt. “ I opened the bag… and the family we are to take home with us is baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

What a visual lesson that was… Am I hero? No, not at all! As Fr. Tony handed me that bag I realized what a selfish person I really am and how far I have to go… to truly understand what true love really means. No limits! We say we love our neighbors… but do we really? When we are challenged with sacrifice.. who me? We really understand what God’s love truly means. Jesus gave us His all….all the way to the cross. No limits..
Which brings me to this conclusion:

So...... “How we are supposed to be folks of faith.. not any faith… Christian faith.” A faith whose foundation is a God of unconditional love. Mark 12:28-34
"The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'There is no other commandment greater than these. Do we truly understand what love really means in a society in which we live? And who is our neighbor? Folks we have things in common with?
Which is the first of all the commandments? Jesus replied, “The first is this…the second is this.” Mark 12: 28-31
My devotional in “the Word among us” challenged my thoughts and encouraged me to truly seek and work toward these words in which Jesus gave us…in which we are to live by. If we as Christian’s truly lived these words…. We could be such a witness to this world. But division among the faithful such " Nationalities or even Denominations" and "Political Views, Social Status, Rich, Poor and Religious Views" speaks volumes to those who do not know Him.. Do we really know what these words mean?
Love God and love your neighbor. The wisdom of these words may not strike us with freshness that would conveyed to Jesus’ audience. The idea that the first and greatest command is to love God with all your hearts and souls wasn’t a new thought. It’s recorded in a much older reading in Hebrew Scripture (Deu. 6:5). But the idea that loving one another is just as important was much more groundbreaking. Jesus considered these two commands bound so closely together that he taught that if someone is offering a gift at the altar---- loving God----and remembers that his brother has something against him, he must leave his gift and go love his brother first (Matt. 5:23-24). And John could write: “Whoever does not love a brother and sister, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20)
There’s something about loving God with our whole hearts that naturally flows into loving other people. Perhaps it is because God has created us in his own image. There’s a picture of Him, a treasure from Him, in each of us. So when we see each other, we are seeing a reflection of the Lord. Or maybe it’s because God loves each of us with such fierce devotion that for us not to share that love with each other would be an offense to Him. Or maybe both!
In the end, it does not matter which approach is best. What matters is that you do something about it! God has called us to love each other just as fully as we love Him. That’s not always an easy task,
and some people seem determined to make it even harder for us. But our Father is ready to help. He is waiting for us to take the first steps. Then He will respond with DIVINE grace to soften our hearts..
Then my Sunday Missal Devotion on this subject: The scribe states; “(Love for God and neighbor) is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” This is a Jewish hyperbolic (exaggerated) saying for: “Sacrifices that are routine and void forms have no value.” Isaiah makes the same kind of strong statement (Is 1:13). The meaning is formalism and void symbols in religion are worthless. The conclusion however is not: Stop praying and worshiping!” Rather the clear lesson is “Love God in your neighbor and show him/her your directly in meaningful prayer and worship! Do both and your love will last forever.
My final thoughts are seeing the reality of how hard it is to love at times. Every time I do not keep those two commandments, which sound so easy to keep, then He puts an opportunity in your life that really challenges you…and you find out how hard loving your neighbor really is. And if we really understand the 1st Commandment (Love your God with all your heart)….then we see the 1st is doing the 2nd….. without limits. Have a Blessed Day! Julie
P. S. Thank-you Lord for Father Tony and his love for you and the directions he challenges my faith... to grow.. AMEN


  1. So well put Julie, and edifying. You are truly salt and light.

    We are so blessed to have Fr. Tony as our Pastor, as he loves us enough to challenge our faith.

  2. That was a great and engaging story! Thanks for sharing that! What a great reminder that we should be quicker to lay down our lives to minister to anyone - for in doing so, we minister to Jesus!

  3. what an awesome story. may i ask you : what if you want to give all you can and in doing so you find yourself being overwhelmed by the person you are helping? this person expecting more each time and is offended when you gently say you cannot do that? sometimes, it is not possible to give it all as it means not loving yourself as you love your neighbor.

  4. Thanks for stopping by and your words of encouragment!

  5. Ruth2762, Will have to respond in two post 1 of 2.
    Thank-you for your words of encouragement that my story sparked an “awesomeness” in you. I don't really understand your question fully. Is it someone you know? Is it a friend or maybe family? Is it your neighbor next door where you live? I know in my life sometimes it can be the ones closes to us that are the hardest to love. We’ve even had rude neighbors before.. folks very hard to love. I’ve learned in life when folks like this are in your life.. God can use them to teach us many things about ourselves… but in no way does our Lord want us to stay in a relationship with them if they hurt us or tear us down. I pray for them..move on and even forgive…..and hope one day that things could be better…but keep my distance.. I have realized that I am helpless in some relationships.. God has to do a work on their heart..and if they don’t want a new heart… it is out of my control. I love the story in Luke where Jesus returns to His hometown and they do not receive Him… They actually try to hurt Him and could have killed Him. Did he stay and try to minister to them..to love them.. No! He knew their hearts and moved on. Sometimes in this life it is the strangers that accept us and are the ones easiest to love. This story of Jesus being rejected by His own town begins in Luke and I will back up a bit to show you that this is the beginning of His public ministry.. He has not shown the world who He is.. until after He was baptized. Luke; Chapter 3, we see that Jesus is baptized and receives the Holy Spirit.. Luke: Chapter 4, Jesus is led with power by the Holy Spirit to the desert and is tempted by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights. Starting at Chapter 4, verse 14…. Jesus returns to Galilee and starts His public ministry. He taught there in synagogues and was praised by all.. Verse 16; Jesus leaves Galilee and then goes to His hometown where he had grown up and everyone knew Him.16And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read.

    1. Thanks! you have actually answered my question. and it was about a friend who i have sincerely tried to help out a few weeks ago and with love. and found that she was expecting things i could not give her. how hurtful it was to see her just throw me away for saying i cannot. it is not easy not to be appreciated even though i never expected a reward. maybe i should not be expecting appreciation either. it underlines the fact that we need to appreciate others and tell them so. Peace be with you.

  6. 2 0f 2:17And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place where it was written,
    18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised,
    19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
    20And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him.
    21And he began to say unto them, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears. 22And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth: and they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
    23And he said unto them, Doubtless ye will say unto me this parable, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in thine own country.
    24And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is acceptable in his own country.
    25But of a truth I say unto you, There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land;
    26and unto none of them was Elijah sent, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 27And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. 28And they were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things; 29and they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.
    30But he passing through the midst of them went his way.
    He had to escape from His own.. who knew Him. They did not accept Him. They were going to throw him down head first..down a hill..that could of possibly killed Him. In closing I am reminded of the “Beatitudes” and these were Jesus to us… and I think this is the “neighbors” He was telling us to love. And also showing us who we need to be..
    Matthew 5
    1And seeing the multitudes, he went up into the mountain: and when he had sat down, his disciples came unto him:
    2and he opened his mouth and taught them, saying,
    3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
    5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
    6Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
    7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
    8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
    9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.
    10Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    11Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
    12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.
    13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.
    14Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.
    15Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house.
    16Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
    God Bless!