“Naked you clothed me, ill, you cared for me…”
At St Sharbel’s we have a long tradition of giving to those who are less fortunate at Christmas time. It is something that we should be proud of. It is all too easy to get caught up in the commercial aspect of what is meant to be a deeply moving spiritual and religious feast — the Birth of Our Lord. I could write a treatise on why we give to the less fortunate at this time of year. But, that isn’t necessary, the people who come to St. Sharbel’s get it. Rather let me invite you to be thinking about how you want to help as a parish family. There will be two opportunities for us to give together as a parish family.
COAT DRIVE on December 20 – 25 at St Starbel’s
This Sunday through Christmas Eve, we will accept clean serviceable coats (for men and women only at this point). I will leave a few large bins out for you to put these items in. What we are looking for are serviceable items — coats and shoes — that we can get directly to those most in need. I will do with in a number of ways – – through a couple of worthy ministries that will put the items directly into people’s hands. (One of these is through local hospitals who encounter the sick, homeless and dejected; the other is through my direct distribution to those who I encounter at the parish or the neighborhood).
SECOND COLLECTION for Those with Less on December 24, 25
On Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day we will take up a second collection, and will distribute those funds to those in need, in a similar manner. You can invite your children to participate by having them collect a dollar here there for chores, and putting this in an envelope that they directly deposit into the baskets passed at Mass.
Perhaps the most compelling ways that Our Lord spoke to this topic is found in Matthew’s Gospel:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-40
Let us all be reminded that one way to prepare our hearts for Christ’s coming is by giving, it is by prayer, it is by fasting — for in all these things we come closer to God, we come closer to Our Lord.
Peace and blessings to each of you,