This year, Gesu Parish has embraced a Corporal Works of Mercy theme. Each month, the parish will select on a different issue and provide activities for you and your family to incorporate into your daily lives. (Click here to read more about Gesu's Year of Mercy and their annual One Book, One Parish selection Mercy in the City, by Kerry Webber)
January - Shelter the Homeless & Welcome the Stranger
Clothing the Naked, Clothing Christ
To be Christian means that we are obligated to place other at the center of our lives. In doing so, we encounter fear, discomfort and inconvenience. As we put the Corporal Work of Mercy of Welcoming the Stranger into action, we are challenged to move out of our comfort zones and follow the example of Christ.
Entire groups of people, because we don’t understand them, because we find their beliefs or practices foreign, because we feel threatened by imagined dangers, because they are different from what we deem “normal,” have become forfeit of basic human rights. Neighbors in proximity, they are treated as strangers in our midst; they are rejected and threatened and made to feel unwelcome. We are called to look beyond agendas whether they are political, social, or economical and, instead, look at how Jesus calls us to respond to the needs of the stranger.
Children are starving, families are being decimated, societies are collapsing due to war, poverty, violence, hatred, greed. Our brothers and sisters are being driven from their homes and into our arms. Our response can’t be a re-action from fear, it must be an action based on and in faith. We are told to welcome the stranger - no caveats. We are not cautioned to protect ourselves first - God is our fortress. We are not warned away from helping the stranger who belongs to a different religion - God calls all to himself. We are shown Christ’s example of caring for those who are most marginalized and rejected. We are told to welcome the stranger or risk our eternal life. As Christians, we are compelled to take the path of the higher righteousness that Jesus calls us to in Mt 5:20: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
In today’s climate, there is an uncomfortable tendency of making outrageous claims, accusations and promises. There is an on-going narrative that we hear every time we turn to any news source or social media outlet that tries to establish that there are human beings who have NOT been created in the image and likeness of God and are therefore acceptable targets for vitriolic attacks on their religion, beliefs or practices. Has your voice been usurped by the narrative or will you speak out against this claim of justified marginalization, justified rejection, justified hate?
What does Gesu Parish do:
• Collect NEW socks and underwear (and diapers) in the narthex bin for the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry Men's Shelter, West Side Catholic Center, and Zelie's Home.
• Volunteer with the SVDPS or Ozanam Center at St. Philomena Church. Contact Pat Hawkins or the parish office for more information.
• Items for the Donation Station in the Thompson lot.
• Deliver food donations to the Thea Bowman Center and Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. Contact Tom Tomsic or the parish office for more information.
What can you do?
• Educate yourself about the plight of the home less, migrant worker, immigrant, and refugee.
• Watch the Netflix docuseries, Immigration Nation
• Explore the Diocese of Cleveland Catholic Charities Migration & Refugee Services website found at http://bit.ly/37BLxo6 and look at “How You Can Help” by volunteering, mentoring a refugee family, renting to refugees, hiring refugees, or donating.
• Donate to the West Side Catholic Center to help our area’s homeless at www.wsccenter.org/give.
• Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
Mercy in the City: Read Chapters 11-14
Ch.11 - After her interaction with Leroy, Kerry realized that she had failed to see him as a real person. Have you ever had an experience that changed your perspective on the people around you?
Ch. 12 -In this chapter Kerry describes a simple, single act of mercy when a stranger handed her a sturdier bag and bottle of water for her sick friend. Do you think small actions like this matter? If so, why don’t more people do things like this?
Ch. 13 - Kerry’s open-door policy for houseguests has resulted in both positive and negative experiences for her, with the positive greatly outweighing the negative. Can you describe a time when you opened yourself to the unknown? What happened?
Ch. 14 - What did you think about Kerry’s experience with the men in the homeless shelter?