We know Jesus calls us to be good. A closer look at the Gospel tells us that Jesus calls us to be more than good, he calls us to be great. To Jesus, being great means doing more than the minimum. “If anyone presses you into service for one mile, go for two miles” (Matthew 5:38-48). We all have responsibilities. Fulfilling our basic responsibilities is wonderful. Bringing the touch of Jesus to what we do means doing more than the basics. We are called to be “extra milers”.
This is our commitment weekend for the annual diocesan Pastoral Services Appeal. This campaign to raise money for the support of our diocesan ministries calls us to go the second mile. Most of us financially support our parish on a regular basis. We are invited to go the extra mile with a gift to support ministry beyond our parish. It is a call to go from being good to being great.
The theme for this year’s campaign is “Our Faith, Our Future”. Treasuring our Catholic faith means we are committed to carrying that faith into the future. This happens by bringing the Lord’s love to the world every day. What better way to do that than by living as extra milers? The behaviors of extra milers do not come naturally. Offering the left cheek to someone who strikes us on the right one is contrary to our natural inclination to strike back. This does not mean we are to sit back and let others take advantage of us. It does mean that our first response to being hurt is not to strike back and take revenge. Offering our coat to someone who also asks for our shirt means we do not just share what is extra, we are to share from the substance of what we have. It is not our natural inclination to love our enemies, yet this is what Jesus asks of us. This does mean we do not defend ourselves against attack. It does mean doing everything we can to break cycles of violence instead of contributing to them through retaliation.
Jesus calls us to greatness. The 2020 Pastoral Services Appeal is yet another invitation to that great call. Your generosity is testimony that you have gone the extra mile. You again have gone from good to great. Our Church, diocese, parish and world are better for it. Thank you!
Together in faith,
The Very Rev. Christopher Smith, rector