Life-affirming love

    March 14, 2024

    Ugh, today’s readings from Deuteronomy and John’s Gospel really challenge me.

    What golden calf do I worship? How am I “stiff necked”? How often do I forget the One who has saved me? Who do I believe? In whom do I place my hope? Where do I need forgiveness? And what do any of today’s reading have to do with Catholic Charities?

    Even in human services, unfortunately it is too easy to get caught up in the golden calves of preserving our personal or agency’s or program’s reputations, our funding, our security, our influence, our impact. It’s not that those aren’t important, rather they need to be subservient to the end of demonstrating the life-affirming love of Jesus Christ with those we serve. How often do we become “stiff necked,” stubbornly refusing to listen or to see another perspective or solution?

    In John’s Gospel Jesus complains to the Pharisees: OK, guys, you don’t believe me. You didn’t believe John the Baptist. You aren’t listening to my Father. You don’t believe Moses. What about seeing what I actually do? Feeding, healing, consoling, bringing life.

    John’s Gospel speaks of Christ’s works as testifying to eternal life through Jesus. With the eyes of faith, we see Christ working every day through our encounters at Catholic Charities — feeding, housing, healing, consoling, teaching, advocating, or just simply accompanying.  At Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County we often say that at Catholic Charities we “change lives for good.” But really it is Christ that changes our lives and the lives of those we serve for good through those graced encounters.

    Loving and gracious God, open my eyes, my ears and my heart to your life-giving presence in the people I encounter this day. Amen.

    Gregory Kepferle is CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, a board member of Catholic Charities of California, and a member of the Development Committee of Catholic Charities USA. He has been a member of CCUSA for over 35 years. He and his wife live in Morgan Hill, California.

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