"Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all."
This past Sunday, our pastor preached on this particular portion of the day's Gospel reading. It was the "state of the parish" address and Father touched on the various ministries of the parish. He was telling us that God chooses us not because we are the best, the brightest, or the richest, but because we, as a parish, are precisely not these things.
During his report on the social outreach of the parish, he surprised us all when he announced that he had received a phone call this week from the staff at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, pictured here. The Despository collects food from all kinds of companies and then it is sold at pennies on the dollar to food pantries all over the greater Chicago area.
Father told us that St. James, our parish's food pantry, had been named the best food pantry in greater Chicago, as well as being named as the best quality food pantry. There was spontaneous applause from the assembly. And it was a sustained applause. It was ironic that it was in the middle of a homily about not necessarily being the best, the brightest, nor the richest, that we found out that our food pantry had been named the best. I guess if a parish has to be the best at anything, being the best at serving the hungry and the homeless is not such a bad thing.
Please say a prayer of thanksgiving today for all the people who work to feed the poor at St. James food pantry and places like it all over the country. God is good. Gotta sing. Gotta pray.