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. As he says, “If anyone presses you into service for one mile, go for two miles (Matthew 5:38-48).” All of us have responsibilities in our lives. 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. This campaign invites us 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 year’s campaign has invited us to be proud of our Catholic faith and to share it by helping each other to know love and serve God. What better way to know love and serve God than by living as extra milers? The behaviors of extra milers does not come naturally. Offering the left cheek to someone who strikes us on the right one is not natural. This does not mean that 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 in addition to someone who asks for our shirt means that we do not just share what is extra, we are to share from the substance of what we have. It is not natural to love our enemies, yet this is what Jesus asks of us. This does not mean that we are not to defend ourselves against attack. It does mean that we are to do everything we can to break cycles of violence instead of contributing to them through retaliation.
Jesus thinks so highly of us that he calls us to greatness. The 2017 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,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector