The “why” behind the “what”

    February 19, 2024

    “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Is this not the very foundation upon which we have built the mission and values of Catholic Charities? Today’s reading and Gospel speak so vividly about how we, as children of God, are called to serve in this world. When I first came to work at Catholic Charities, I was told that we do not serve people because they are Catholic, but because WE are Catholic. We, as an agency, reflect the values and laws of the Catholic faith and uphold Catholic social teaching. You can read all the papal encyclicals that outline each of those rules — or you can simply read today’s scriptures.

    “You shall not steal…You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor…judge your fellow men justly” (Lv 19:1-2, 11-18). “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40). These are just brief snippets of what can be found, but they speak to the importance of loving our neighbor and treating everyone with compassion and charity. In our day-to-day jobs we serve the most vulnerable and the least among us. Sometimes this can become overwhelming, especially when funds get tight, or our hands get tied and we can’t see the happy ending in sight. That is when it becomes most important to reflect back on the “why” behind the “what” of our mission.

    If we can remember the purpose behind the work we do, if we can see God’s hand in every action, it can help us to persevere even when things get tough. As we continue our Lenten journey, think of Jesus and his journey towards Calvary. When our work becomes hard, let us offer it up and remember Jesus’ selfless sacrifice for us and allow it to give us purpose each day.

    Kimberly Baietto is the Parish Engagement Coordinator for Catholic Charities Fort Worth.

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