Living the Gospel: the call to serve others

Even though the disciples had many frailties and fears, Jesus had confidence in them and called them to follow him and to share his mission – to serve everyone. To serve, not so much as a slave who is forced into work but as a free person who generously offers his or her skills and  strength.

Solidarity in support of  the Roma people
The pandemic has exacerbated the social problems in our area.  One of the most serious challenges is housing: many people do not know what to do and live in situations of distress and even serious degradation. When, as a parish, we helped a Roma family to move from a damp, dilapidated shack into a more dignified home, the action helped to overcome certain preconceptions.The gesture seemed to communicate the idea that if Fr Peppino and the other parishioners welcome Roma foreigners, it means that they are people like us whom we can and must help. This created a sense of solidarity and there was almost a “competition” to find ways to help. Some people donated furniture, others transported and assembled it, other people  took care of the contract for the house and others the utility supplies. When M., a Roma mother of two beautiful children, came back from the hospital where she had been admitted for Covid-19, she told me: “I am touched and I wanted to thank you because I have never felt as loved as I do by you and the whole community.”
(Don Peppino – Italy)

Do unto others…
At school, I had a classmate who never made any effort and very bad at maths. I repeatedly urged him to study harder but to no avail: nothing changed.  He failed his first semester exam and was humiliated in front of everyone, so he cried. Although he had not listened to my advice and it was his own fault, I kept thinking of the sentence “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  and I decided I would help him. I offered to tutor him in maths.  He was surprised and delighted and immediately accepted. It was not easy to bring him up to an acceptable level, but a small miracle happened: he achieved a high mark at the end of the second semester!
(Radu – Romania)

About ten years ago, when living in Syria had become difficult for us Christians, we asked ourselves whether we should stay. Many relatives and friends had chosen to leave, and from the news we had received, they seemed to have found peace in other countries and were far from the noise of combat, terror and danger. Yet, even if we do little,we felt that that our presence here, day after day, corresponds to a real mission. It is not so much a matter of witnessing to faith or fidelity to one’s homeland, but of proximity, the proximity of which Pope Francis speaks. We are certain that for our children, too, this situation, even if it is not  easy, will prove to be a great teacher of life.
(V.M. – Syria)

by Maria Grazia Berretta

(taken from Il Vangelo del Giorno, Città Nuova, year VII, n.4, September-October 2021)


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