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 | By F. Dekarlos Blackmon

Social Justice

May We Renew the Church With Our Love for Christ and One Another

During the Second Week of Easter, I was in Arizona for a family gathering. Upon my arrival to Phoenix on Sunday afternoon, I was informed that a friend had been rushed to the hospital days earlier. My friend is a gem of a man. He has prayed for me in the midst of many trials I have undergone. Therefore, I answered the call to adhere to the corporal work of mercy to visit the sick by bringing to my brother the love and compassion of Jesus Christ in his moment of difficulty.

Accompanied by a mutual friend, we had a wonderful conversation about his life, and ironically, he became the minister to me. He spoke to us about growing up 70-80 years ago in the American South. While what I heard appeared to be nothing but utter hardship about his upbringing, he did not speak of it as such. While it was clear he faced great adversity, I came to see him as one who patiently shouldered the wrongs done to him, his family and his community.

His absolute faith in Jesus Christ, coupled with the grace received through the sacraments, impels him to focus on guiding younger generations to hold fast to their faith in Christ and not live their lives from the perspectives of the wounds and adversities they may have been subjected.

My friend reminded us that in the midst of everything we encounter in this life, we, as a community of disciples, in cooperating with God’s grace, are constantly being sent out in mission “for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51). This encounter for me was a concrete example of why Bishop Joe Vásquez is calling us to begin a Eucharistic Revival in our local church.

This encounter is, in part, why the Secretariat for Life, Charity and Justice is focusing its work this year on the theme, “That They May All Be One: My Flesh for the Life of the World.” This encounter was a concrete example of why families must take our rightful roles to help renew the church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

The visit to my friend not only served him, but also served me in that it – coupled with the Mass of the Octave of Easter – presented me an unmistakable prompt to never forget the marvels the Lord continues to do for each of us. My friend reminded me that we are constantly being invited to remember from what font we have been washed, by whose spirit we have been reborn and by whose blood we have been redeemed.

The Lord was indeed present to me in the visit to my friend at that Arizona hospital. How many times are we creating opportunities to be open to receiving the real presence of Jesus Christ in everyday life? God is moving by his Spirit over all the earth. Let us intentionally open ourselves to his magnificent signs and wonders, by inviting the Lord to move in each one of us. Come Holy Spirit!