It all started when I read an article about Popes Francis’ initiative to provide showers for the homeless. One homeless person reportedly said, “They treat us like friends.” Here in Magadan, Russia, we don’t have many homeless, but we have some folks with handicaps who need care.
Alaska has the highest number of veterans per capita of any state in the union. It is a tragedy to see that veterans experience homelessness at a higher rate than the general population across the country.
At a recent Mass our Sunday reading was from 1 Peter 3:15-18, and included this line: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” The homilist that day told us we should spend time thinking about what our explanation would be. Hope defines a Christian. Hope is the noisy and exuberant, sometimes somber and diligent, antithesis to quiet desperation. Hope is what gets us out of bed in the morning, albeit occasionally reluctantly.
“Who is Jesus Christ for us today?” The question popped up for me again as I read the Gospel for this 14th Sunday in ordinary time where Jesus’ family and his neighbors find him: “His wisdom was beyond them. After all, is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his family living here with us?” Who is this person really?
If a young Catholic reaches adulthood with a poor understanding and personal appreciation of how the sacraments infuse her life with the grace of God, then she will feel little reason to go to regular confession, attend weekly Mass, marry in the church, baptize her children and bury her loved ones with the aid and guidance of the church. The question for many is, “What difference does it make.”