The readings this weekend emphasize how the salvation of Christ, the love of God, and the mission of the Church include everyone, regardless of race or creed. They emphasize that the Gentiles who show faithfulness, along with Jews, will be welcomed into the kingdom of God and their sacrifices “will be acceptable” to the Lord.
This summer, I led my first overnight service trip as a parish youth minister. I was nervous about how my upper-middle class group would be perceived, how the young men who attended would interact with the communities we were entering. In my need to get things done and be as much help as possible, I often overlooked the deeper significance of simply being present. At each site, there was at least one person, either an employee or client, who emphasized the importance of these young men showing up to accompany these communities. At one site serving new immigrants to the United States, an employee who had survived the Rwandan genocide bonded with one student in particular who helped her shred old documents. More important than the task at hand was their conversation and companionship that revealed the love of Christ to the entire group.
Another woman we encountered who had fled her country because of political persecution told the students to keep using their social media platforms for good because kids around the world are inspired by it. I never thought I’d encounter an adult encouraging social media use, but the interaction was a reminder that God is in all things and all things can be used to glorify God. Our day with this organization reminded me that we are all foreigners in some way or another, and that by embracing each other, we can all become friends in Christ.
- How am I participating in the ministry of God on Earth?
- How can I reach out to include all people in the love of God and mission of the Church?
- How do I view “foreigners”? Where am I a “foreigner”?
Katie Laskey serves as the coordinator of youth ministry at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, the Jesuit parish in Washington, D.C. She holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Portland, and taught middle school humanities in Catholic schools for five years prior to entering parish ministry.