New Year’s resolution: Practice what we preach Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

In Luke’s Gospel for Sunday, Dec. 16, comes this passage, “The crowds asked John the Baptist, ‘What should we do?’ He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.’”

St. John the Baptist was foreshadowing Jesus’ own words from the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasize that his followers won’t enter the kingdom of heaven if they don’t give food and drink to the hungry and thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick or those in prison.

It’s clear that in order to be saved, Christians must put their love of neighbor into action. Many of us do just that by giving food and clothing to those in need through such organizations as Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Catholic Multicultural Center, and our own parishes and community organizations.

Visiting the sick is also something many of us do. If a family member or friend is sick, we will help them out by providing food or picking up medications. If they’re in a hospital or nursing home, we visit them.

But I think many believers fall short on visiting the imprisoned and welcoming strangers. There are some dedicated people — lay, Religious, and clergy — who are involved in prison ministry. But they are the exceptions. If it’s possible, I would encourage others to find out how to help those in jails or prisons and also consider what can be done to help ex-offenders who have served their time.

I’ve thought about Jesus’ insistence on welcoming strangers in regard to the border issues in the United States. The recent death of a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who was seeking asylum with her father in our country was very sad. We could contact the president and members of Congress to encourage more humane policies in regard to those coming to our borders.

As Jesus has said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do onto me.” Perhaps one of our New Year’s resolutions could be to put our Christian values into action, that is, to practice what we preach!