Early this past week I stopped by our 8 th grade Faith & Service class. The 8 th graders were discussing leadership and service. Their teacher, Ms. Matlon, had given them an article to read, it was about a violent, dirty, trash-ridden park in Camden, New Jersey. The park was right across the street from a school and the students in the school were tired of the ugly park and they decided to take matters into their own hands. Middle schoolers at the school organized their efforts to contact community officials, they raised over $150,000 and they cleaned up the park that was once cited as being the worst park in the United States. Through their efforts, they gave the community some faith and hope. These students were able to show that one is never too young to make a difference.
The 8 th graders then had a conversation about being a “humble leader”. This seemed to be a contradiction of terms. However, the idea of saints in our world, both today and in the past, gave them a glimpse of what they too could aspire to be. As I looked around the room at the students, I saw heads nodding in affirmation about the hope that was seemingly in their hearts and in their eyes. Hope that they could be difference makers in our community and in our world. This gives me hope as well. Hope that our Catholic tradition of faith AND works are taking root in our scholars here at St. Joseph School.
This past Friday we completed our Rake-a-thon service project. Our preschool-8 th grade students, as well as several alumni students, raked several yards of community members who could no longer care for their property. The students see these service days as highlights. They love to help our community members. It is not a mystery as to why this is so meaningful. Jesus was a servant leader. He, as both divine person and human person, embodied what it means to be fully human. Giving of oneself, fully and humbly and acting as Jesus did, is one of the greatest ways that any of us can experience God’s love.
Today, as you sit down at the dinner table, take some time to record ways that you and your family can serve. Some categories to think about include:
- In what ways can we serve our parish?
- In what ways can we serve one another in our family?
- In what ways could we serve the world?
- In what ways could we serve the Twin Cities community?
Now, put an action plan together. Organize an event with friends, parishioners, your
family or on your own. Take the lead, get it done, pray throughout and remain humble. When you’re all done, reflect on what that service feels like, pray some more and start looking for the next opportunity.
We have all heard it said time and again, that Christ is counting on us to be his hands and feet. We too are counting on Christ to help us be the best version of ourselves, to live virtuous lives and to remind us to be humble. It’s time for us to do something! May we all be humble in service, as we become humble leaders.
We are called to live our parish mission to Know, Love and Serve the Lord.
Someone out there needs you today, how will you answer the call?