The heart of our service

    December 31, 2023
    The logo for the Christmas Daily Reflections, featuring a close-up of Christmas tree branches with gold ornaments, white and gold lights, and the CCUSA logo.

    Luke movingly tells us that as Jesus was approaching his death and entering Jerusalem, He wept over the holy city with these words, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes” (19:42).

    In today’s Gospel, however, we hear of a man in Jerusalem to whom “what makes for peace” was not hidden. We hear of Simeon, to whom the light of faith had revealed what was hidden to the eyes of others. Thirty-three years prior, when Mary and Joseph brought the Christ Child into the temple, he had taken our Lord in his arms and blessed God, saying:

    “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace…for my eyes have seen your salvation…” (Luke 2:29-30)

    It is the privilege of Catholic Charities organizations across our country to relieve the burdens of the poor. To bring them, in a sense, peace. But surely, there are more needs than we can ever meet. Even for those we assist, how long does the “peace” last? Anxiety rises again as the cupboard empties or the next month’s rent comes due.

    It is not a full stomach, stable housing, health or security that ultimately brings peace. No, it is the salvation of God that brings peace: Jesus Christ Himself. It is in embracing the Savior that the peace of Christ, and not the anxieties of life, comes to control our hearts (cf. Colossians 3:15).

    This is why at Catholic Charities we must, above all, be bearers of Christ to others. Jesus Christ must be unapologetically at the heart of all our efforts to serve the needs of the poor. For without Him there is no peace; but with Him is peace everlasting — a peace which the world cannot give (cf. John 14:27).

    Sister Marie Josepha Kluczny is a member of the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan and the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Southwest Louisiana.

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