Deacon Sam's Blog

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Each year we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe where we are called to both reflect upon, and respond to, the primacy of our savior not only in our lives, but also in the world. As always, we are encourage on this feast day to a deeper commitment to Christ our Lord, to follow Him with more vigor and dedication.

When we read the gospel from the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew includes the famous passage where Christ as King will separate the goats from the sheep. "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me…Amen, I say to you, that whatever you did for the least brothers of mine, you did for me."

The implication is clear. Being a follower of Christ involves more than prayer, more than attending mass, more than singing praises. Being a follower means living our lives in such a way that we become the answers to the prayers of others, especially the poor and those in need. Being a follower of Christ means that in addition to taking in the body and blood or Christ we take Christ to the world, especially to the poor and those in need. Being obedient to the King of the Universe means we praise Him by working to alleviate struggle and suffering, especially among the "least brothers of mine."

One of the ways in which the Church lives out this call to serve others in the spirit of Matthew 25 is through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. This campaign is the U.S. bishops' domestic anti-poverty program. This weekend in parishes throughout our archdiocese, and the nation, a second collection will be taken to support the campaign.

These funds are employed to support community based organizations run by the poor, for the poor, to help them break the cycle of poverty. As the director of the Office of Justice and Peace, one of my responsibilities is to coordinate the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for our archdiocese.

Among the groups we support locally is the Living Hope Wheelchair Association. This is an organization comprised of low income people who have suffered serious spinal cord injuries that confine them to wheelchairs. With very few resources and limited access to ongoing healthcare, these inspiring people have banded together to support each other and to advocate on behalf of the physically challenged. They have been extremely effective in advocating at both the state and local levels for increased access to facilities. They have established an impressive network of care providers, medical equipment suppliers, and other community organizations to help alleviate some of the struggles they face every day.

And, they repeatedly say the association would not be where it is today without the financial support of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. I am proud that we have supported the Living Hope Wheelchair Association from its beginning.

In Galveston, we have also supported The Jesse Tree, a multi-service center seeking to address the issues of poverty in their community by providing life skills training, community building and helping the ill among the poor to access the healthcare. While the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has been a longtime supporter, we were especially helpful to The Jesse Tree in the wake of Hurricane Ike. When their offices were destroyed the campaign provided essential funding so they could continue their important work in the midst of that devastation.

I ask you to be generous in supporting the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and its work in helping the poor help themselves. It truly is a concrete way in which we all can do live out the call proclaimed in today's gospel.