We are happy to have with us this weekend Fr. John Hurley, CSP. He is here to preach the Annual Paulist Appeal. And so this weekend we celebrate the Paulist Patronal Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Thank you for your warm welcome to Fr. Hurley. All the Paulists here are most grateful for your support of our mission and community. THANK YOU!!!!
Two weeks ago I began an occasional series on the corporal works of mercy. We are now in the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. Last time we looked at the first corporal work of mercy, feeding the hungry.
In addition to physical hunger, today we also come across many other hungers in people: for meaning, for purpose, for intimacy, for belonging, for identity. These hungers are every bit as real as physical hunger, and every bit as damaging. However, they are often harder to see and harder to relieve.
I believe we Christians can feed these other hungers by witnessing to joy. We have heard GOOD news. That is what “Gospel” means; good news. All people have deep needs, deep hungers, to have meaning and purpose, to have a sense of belonging, to experience intimacy with others and to know who they are. As the Body of Christ we should have that. And we should want to share that. Pope Francis is a wonderful example of someone who witness to joy.
What do you get out of being an active Catholic? Not a lot in terms of social standing. Hopefully not a load of guilt. Not any financial advantage. So what is the pay off, the benefit of going to church and striving to live a Christian life?
It is joy. If your religion does not bring you a sense of belonging, of relationship to Jesus, of membership in the Body of Christ, of purpose and meaning and direction in your life, then why bother? And if you do get this, even if only partially and fleetingly, then you need to show it. You need to show it so you can share it. You need to witness to joy so you can feed the many hungry people around you; people hungry for belonging, for meaning, for purpose, for direction, for hope, for joy.
Today in contemporary society, when so many people give into drugs and consumerism and despair, we need to feed the hungry, but especially the hungers on deeper levels of what it means to be human. And I think the best way to do this is to witness to joy.