This title is ambiguous (at least, I hope it is!). What do I mean by “serving”? Actually, since I hope it’s ambiguous, I hope it means a variety of things.
This weekend we’ll be hosting a banquet for current and prospective altar servers. There’s easy meaning #1. Why is this important? I think the answer is that this is a way we learn to give of ourselves for the needs and benefit of others. I am thinking most especially of the times when servers give up their personal time to minister at a funeral. They are (at best) unobtrusive, yet they are essential helps to the smooth flow of the liturgy, helping the family to grieve and worship. It is also a reminder that building community often depends upon the sacrifices/offerings of various individuals, allowing the whole to be greater than the parts. Sacrifice is not a popular word in our world these days, but it is an essential one. Young people: let’s just do it!
Serving also relates to the rest of us, especially as our Stewardship Drive is almost upon us. Are you up to date in your commitment to sacrificial giving to the parish? If not, perhaps it’s time to catch up. Your generosity allows us to make the parish safe (security cameras) and beautiful (lawn service work); it helps us to do outreach to those in need (St Vincent de Paul Society, involvement with the Neighbor Center), and it encourages us to reach out beyond our parish to the larger community (with 2nd collections or Catholic Charities). C S Lewis once wrote, “Calculate what you can afford to give; then, give a little more.” In other words, let it truly be “sacrificial” giving. Are we there?
What are the ways we can extend ourselves beyond our checkbooks? Homebound people are looking for ways to get to church; are you able and willing to help them? Grieving families look to the church for a post-funeral lunch; can you supply a casserole or salad to help them?
I try often to stress the need for balance between “maintenance” and “mission”—between looking inward to take care of our own needs, and outward to see and respond to the needs of others. Can you help us serve? No, not everyone can do all things, but each of us can do something. What will you do? After all, Jesus said “The Son of Man has come not to be served but to serve…” Let’s just do it!