This past week I have been attending the Provincial Assembly for the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers which was founded by St Vincent de Paul. It is a worldwide congregation which is divided into Provinces. The Province I belong to is the Oceania Province which covers Australia, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. The purpose of the Assembly was to see where we stand at present and what future directions we wish to take. As part of the process we were shown some videos of laypeople who try to live out the spirit of St Vincent de Paul in their daily lives. One particularly striking video was of a 29 year old man in Fiji who spends much of his time housebound. The reason is he is completely paralysed as a result of a car accident. This man spoke eloquently of the tremendous kindness he had experienced as a result of weekly visits from members of the St Vincent de Paul Society. He added how much he looks forward to those visits.
In the Gospel Jesus speaks about entering by the narrow door. This saying seems to be harsh indicating that only a few will end up being saved. However, Jesus wants his listeners not to focus so much on the next life but rather to focus on this life. What matters is how we live our lives right now. The best way to respond to Jesus’ words is to become a friend of God. And we become a friend of God when we reach out in love to those in need.
I know well one of those members of the St Vincent de Paul Conference in Fiji who do these visits. I know they don’t have much and yet this person has always been very generous. When I look to be reminded what God is like I look to people such as this person for inspiration.
Over the next 4 Sundays we will have children making their First Holy Communion. When receiving the Body of Christ in Holy Communion we say “Amen.” This means that we promise to try and become like Jesus in our daily lives.