We visited our grandchildren last week to celebrate Thanksgiving. While walking back from a restaurant after a delightful meal of gumbo and gator bites, we passed between two dueling street preachers. One was standing on a wall, shouting to passersby that they were bound for hell if they didn’t immediately give their life to Jesus. The other was not quite as loud but was just as emphatic. He was giving some type of counter message. Both were trying to cancel each other out.
I believe these were both good men (“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”).
However, that is not my preference for receiving The Word. I believe St. Paul had room in his heart for the sentiment attributed to St. Francis. Preach constantly. Use words if you must.
Isn’t that what we do every day in our service to those in need? When we look across the desk into the person’s eyes; when we take the time to really listen to their story; when we patiently help them select food from our pantry — we are bringing the light of the Eucharist to that person, right then and there. The light that each of us carry every day.
We may not have been called to this work while we were fishing on the Sea of Galilee. Regardless of how you came to this charism, you are now called to bring The Word to all you serve. You are an apostle of the light. You are preaching with your actions.
Jack Murphy is a volunteer with The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Alpharetta, GA. He is national chair of Systemic Change and Advocacy for The Society.
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