The Little Things

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Today’s Gospel reading concludes Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus began His preaching “Repent, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!” In the weeks since we heard that message, we have listened to Jesus tell us what is expected of His disciples—those who wish to become members of His Kingdom.

He confirmed the commandments but He added so much more. He gave us the Beatitudes—comfort the sorrowful, be peace keepers, grow in humility, Blessed are those who are persecuted. He knew that living the Christian life would not always be easy. But then He went on—love your enemies as well as your neighbors, do not be angry, reconcile with your brother and sister, do not judge your neighbor, trust in Him to provide for your daily needs. Do not put your lamp under a basket.

Now is our call to action! In the days when Matthew wrote his Gospel it was common thought that a Christian was one who “called upon the name of the Lord.” But to be a Christian it is not enough to simply profess oneself as a Christian; one must act! We must step out of our comfort zones and let our light shine before all.

Too often we think our actions must be big ones. Sometimes we are called to do big things—a religious vocation, a March for Life, to spend a week or two on a mission trip serving the poor, perhaps taking care of a chronically ill family member. But mostly we are called to do the everyday “little things” and as Mother Teresa said “Do them with love.”

We must be the best parent, student, teacher, office worker (or whatever) that we can be. That is our work for Christ now and we must do it with honesty and love, the way He would have us do it. We can love our neighbor by doing the “little things”—make an extra dinner for the sick or elderly neighbor (you’re cooking anyway), snow blow the neighbor’s driveway (you’re out snow blowing yours anyway), say a prayer for that person who cuts in front of you instead of getting angry. Become a Lector, Eucharistic Minister, Altar Server or Choir member to become a more active member of the parish and to better serve Our Lord and one another.

And to the elderly and housebound, you can cheer a neighbor or other senior with a phone call—and you certainly can pray for the world and all of us in it.

(When Deacon Joe used to interview the Confirmation candidates, he would often ask them “How are you Christ to others?” Most often they would look quite stunned and then say “I don’t know.” Then he would ask if they had ever helped their parents without being asked, or helped a sibling with school work or just sat and listened to someone who was upset. Of course they had. They just hadn’t realized they were doing just what Christ would have done!)

The nominal Christian may know all the teachings of Christ, but unless he/she puts it into practice, he/she is building their house on sand. Examine your own life honestly. With the start of Lent just a few days away, think about how you might let “your light” shine just a bit brighter in the Kingdom of God and make your “house” just a bit more sturdy!

Linda Caminiti