Friday, May 22, 2015

"So you are poor and need should call our priest"

I sometimes wonder if we're really listening, as a Church, to everything Pope Francis is saying, or just to the things that we like to hear.

We hear all the time, and rightly so, that the laity are called to exercise a type of priesthood in the world.  We are reminded by Pope Benedict and John Paul II that "it is not the ministers who are the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, but the saints."  Priests are told, more loudly in some circles than others, "don't forget that we laity and you are on equal footing in the Church."  And I say that we SHOULD be reminded of that, and it is true.

However, one area that this "we're all equal and we're all priests" mentality has not sunk in, at least in the parishes I've been in, is with helping the poor.

To my great frustration, I can't tell you how many times some poor person has asked a parishioner for help and that parishioner has said "well, here's our priest's number" or "you should call our parish office" etc.

Folks, that's not Catholicism.

Help the poor people yourselves.  Engage in the Gospel of encounter that Pope Francis is calling us to.

The Holy Father's challenge to go to the margins, to engage the poor, to care for those in need is NOT JUST FOR PRIESTS

I'm ALL for the laity taking on more of what, in times past, may have been tasks and duties that were unnecessarily reserved to priests...but the laity have to live out that responsibility when it is convenient AND when it is inconvenient.

We have to stop outsourcing the care for the poor to someone else because we are busy.

The type of person who says "someone else can take care of this poor person" is the type of person Christ condemned in the parable of the good Samaritan.

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