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Called to make a difference
August 10, 2009
by Fr. Tom Balluff, St. Mary of Czestochowa Church, Delano

As Christians, our call to serve those in need and to work for a more just society requires deep reflection and action. Our answer to this call is an integral part of who we are as disciples of Christ.

I believe that as followers of Jesus Christ, we are all one human family and come into this world to live, work, and worship with one another and to care for one another.

We are all called to stand up for the many needs of those who are poor and vulnerable – in other words, to serve the common good and not our own selfish ends.

Those in most need include the unborn, children, the elderly, the sick and dying, and the mentally/physically disabled.

We believe in the idea that God has a preferential option for the poor. In imitation of Jesus’ example to us in the gospels, we are called to help the weakest and most vulnerable of our society.

“The preferential option for the poor simply means that when faced with the weakest or most vulnerable; our responsibility is to give them first priority. When a child in the family is ill, the attention of the parent focuses on that child’s well-being, not to the exclusion of the other children, but because of the greater need that child has at the time. So, too, we are called to give those who are poor and hurting priority in our decision-making, through our personal concern and in our public policies. We are called to give of our substance, not merely of our surplus.” (Gaudium et Spes).

Just as our family budget reflects what we value most important, our federal budget is a moral statement that demonstrates our nation’s priorities. Those who have more, have a greater responsibility to help those who are less fortunate. I believe that the citizens of our great country are perhaps the most generous in the world. “He who has much, even more will be asked.”

As part of promoting the common good, our government also has an important responsibility to ensure secure and strong families by also protecting the elderly. This means that the elderly must have access to good quality care to meet their basic medical needs, along with a basic minimum income, and other material support (food, housing) in old age.

We must all cooperate to assure strong, healthy families that will help individuals flourish. Although, we may not all agree on the specifics of how to best serve those in need, the unborn, to overcome poverty, and to advance human dignity, it is impossible for us Christians to say, “That’s not my problem.”

We must all do our part.