Sunday, October 22, 2017


In the various talks I have given around the country over the years, I often refer to Jesus asking Peter whether he loves him (Jn 21:17). Jesus asks us the same question every day, “Do you love me?” It is not a question of faith so much as it is a challenge to a commitment for each of us. If we truly love the Lord, we must take care of one another—we must love one another. Illustrated throughout the Gospel by his words and deeds is the command of Christ to “love one another” (Jn 13:43).

Each November, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sponsors the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) collection. Through the generosity of Catholics throughout the country, CCHD is able to provide much needed funding to groups whose work reflects Catholic social teaching in terms of the intrinsic dignity of human life. A preeminent objective of CCHD is to fund groups whose very efforts are to effect positive change in the policies and social structures which weaken dignity, particularly for the underprivileged and defenseless. Support of the annual CCHD collection helps the socioeconomically disadvantaged improve their lives, overcome injustice and escape poverty.

Pope Francis reminds us to not allow the spirit of global solidarity to be lost in times of crisis and economic hardship. As Catholics, we are united through the sacraments of initiation; and “the Eucharist commits us to the poor” (CCC, 1397). Participating in the work of CCHD helps us not only to reach out to those on the peripheries, but also to give hope to those in despair. During his Apostolic Visit to the United States in 2015, the Holy Father succinctly reminded the nation through his address to the Joint Session of Congress, “The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.” When the Christian faithful participates in this national collection, we are actively responding to the clarion call to live out the Gospel values by expressing an authentic priority to alleviate the hardships of the underprivileged and vulnerable as a labor of love.

Everything we have in our lives is a gift; and we know God cannot be outdone in generosity. As we proclaim the gospel of life and justice, celebrating it in the Mass and in our whole existence, may the way we are to be in the communion processional be the way we are in the world because “in prayer, there are no rich or poor, there are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers” (Pope Francis).

If I can help somebody as I pass along,
then my living will not be in vain.
Be courageous!!

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