I still remember the first time I joined my mother’s missionary group in the Dominican Republic. After full days of preaching, visiting the sick, and spending time with children at a parish-run nutrition center, some quiet time finally came around. We sat in silence on rocking chairs with the breeze that rustled through the trees coming through the openings of the gated balcony.
The silence was broken into by the weeping of a grown man.
He wept holding his head in his hands, moved with pity by the suffering around us. He was filled with the gnawing questions that often accompany service to the poor: Why do I have what I have? Why have I been blessed with clothes, food, a roof over my head, and a well-paying job? Why me and not them? As he shared his heart with us amidst his groans, we, who sat there with him, also began to cry.
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul. He was born in France to a poor family and was captured and sold into slavery a few years after being ordained to the priesthood. After his escape, he dedicated his life to the poor. Maybe Saint Vincent also cried tears of grief at the suffering of the poor like we did that afternoon. After all, he knew very well what it meant to be “least” among his countrymen (source).
One thing is certain, Vincent did not stay seated. He responded—not with void words but with actions full of charity.
You and I, sister, are invited by Jesus in today’s Gospel to look for the least among us and receive them in His name (Luke 9:48). How will we respond? Perhaps we will first weep. Yet, may our tears lead us to seek change, to give of ourselves, to be generous with our finances, to get out of our comfort zone and make that call or sit with that person who needs some company.
Saint Vincent de Paul, help us and accompany us so that we may receive Jesus when we love and serve the least among us.Receive them in His name. // Rocio Hermes Click To Tweet
Thank you for being here.
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