Bottom line: Because of Jesus, we belong to the most inclusive religion: reaching not only the most remote corner of the globe, but also the most remote corner of the human heart.
This Sunday Jesus tells us that he is the Good Shepherd who willingly lays down his life for his sheep. Then he adds:
"I have other sheep who do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice and there will be one flock, one shepherd."
Who does Jesus want in his flock? The answer is simple: Everyone! St. Paul states that God "wills everyone to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim 2:4 NAB)
Christianity came from a Jewish matrix, but rapidly embraced Samaritans, Greeks, Ethiopians, Celts (a.k.a. Galatians), the people of distant India, etc. Each Sunday we profess our belief in the "Catholic Church." "Catholic" means universal, but it means something even more profound. St. Cyril of Jerusalem said that the Church "deserves the title Catholic because it heals and cures unrestrictedly every type of sin that can be committed in soul or in body."
Jesus wants to embrace people not only in the diversity of their cultures, but also in our weaknesses. Jesus and the Church he founded is completely inclusive. Jesus wants everyone - and so do we.
If you were to ask what the most inclusive religion is, the answer would have have to be the religion of Jesus - the Church he founded.
One way we express this inclusiveness, this universality is by a collection we take up each year at this time. It is called the Annual Catholic Appeal and it is our way of reaching out to those all our brothers and sisters: children, youth, married couples, divorced, seniors, street people, the homeless, people struggling with addictions, the imprisoned - no one stands outside the embrace of Jesus. And we want them, we need them as part of Jesus' Body - the Church. Because of Jesus, we belong to the most inclusive religion: reaching not only the most remote corner of the globe, but also the most remote corner of the human heart.
You have probably heard the phrase, "think globally, act locally." We are part of a global Church, but we live that reality locally. To help us understand how the Annual Catholic Appeal relates to our parish, I would like to call forward __________________
From Archives: (Fourth Easter, Year B)
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Parish Picture Album
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru
(new, professional website)
National Petition to Stop HHS Mandate - important updates
Please take time to read what our bishops are saying about Religious Liberty & Conscience Protection
The Archdiocese of Seattle also has helpful resources regarding the defense of marriage and family