Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“Whoever gives only a cold cup of water to one of these little ones to drink, because the little one is a disciple, amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.” These concluding words from our Lord in the Gospel passage we read this Sunday remind us that even the smallest act of kindness, undertaken simply out of Christian charity, carries with it true reward. That said, our Lord does not suggest that we should serve those in need simply out of a desire for some payment in return. Rather, we are taught to do all the good we can out of love for God. In fact, we should seek God above all other loves, above all other things, above all other rewards. The beauty of loving God, though, is that the more we love God, the more we love our neighbor. The more we seek to serve God, the more we seek opportunities to serve those around us, and the more we receive reward, though reward is not the motivation for charity.
Over the last few weeks, mention has been made in this space of the good work done by our Fairfield Life Teen youth ministry in their annual summer mission trip with Catholic Heart Workcamp. Please permit me one last reflection, given this Sunday’s Gospel. Every year, thousands of teens across the country are given an opportunity to serve those most in need through CHWC. Those who participate consistently report that the greatest impact is not only in the work, but in the individuals whose lives are touched. Whether it is a new deck or ramp, or a cold cup of water, the power of the CHWC experience is the opportunity to give generously without counting the cost. Having accompanied our high school students and their adult chaperones to CHWC for many years, I am consistently impressed by the generosity displayed by those who participate. Even more, the message of this Gospel passage is borne out again and again – generous service becomes its own reward. I am so grateful our high school students were able to experience this service, and I look forward to serving with them again next year!
This weekend, we welcome Fr. Brendan Blawie as our new parochial vicar. As he gets started here, I know you will join me in praying for him as he serves our parish community. I am excited to have him here and to share priestly ministry together. There is always a lot to do, and having another priest available will be a tremendous blessing to our parish. Please introduce yourself to Fr. Brendan as he gets to know our community, and join me in welcoming him to St. Pius X!