Sunday, October 18, 2009

Faith in Action

A Christian is great in so far as his service.

- Fr. Ben Smaistrla 10/17/09

Please forgive me if you are offended by this poster, but think about what it means. I was goofing around on the internet and found it. My first response was to laugh. But, then I thought about the deeper meaning and decided this is funny because it is so TRUE. Don't get me wrong, I think prayer is important. But, I also think that many situations call for service, which is faith in action.

At mass this week, our priest, Fr. Ben Smaistrla, told the story of a rich man who saw a bedraggled woman and child begging for food. He didn't give them any. He went home, sat down to his own sumptuous meal, and prayed to God to "help those poor people." He even had the temerity to ask God why he let people suffer so.
I once went to a "day of prayer" for at risk children. It was at a beautiful wealthy church in an exclusive part of town. We heard statistics on at risk children and said a prayer for them. I almost expected to hear the iconic song "In the Ghetto" playing in the background. One Latino lawmaker got up and told us that in fact, parents of "at risk" kids want the best for them, just like parents of kids in the wealthy neighborhoods. He didn't say it outright, but I am extrapolating that what they needed more than prayer, were jobs at fair wages and access to affordable housing and healthcare.

The point is we've got to deliver. It isn't enough to look good, or think about being good, or even pray about being good - we actually to do something to be good. We can't ask "why" without asking "how can I help?" Certainly, we cannot help every person or every situation. But, we all can help someone and we can take a make a difference somewhere.

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