If you understand this blessed are you if you do it? What was Jesus referring to when he asked this in the gospel, we heard at mass today. Recall that he had just washed the feet of the disciples and he was modeling for them a behavior. He was instructing his followers about service, humility and self- sacrifice. Then he said, if you understand this blessed are you if you do it. And ever since people have been doing it.
Strangers, neighbors are reaching out during this pandemic in heroic ways. Doctors, nurses, bus drivers, nurses’ aids in nursing homes and countless thousands have been sacrificing their lives and dying while seeking to help others in need. They understood and they are blessed.
Humble men and women and yes young adults performing services of delivering food, making masks, caring for young siblings have understood and they are blessed.
A brain damaged nephew in a nursing home who contracted the virus and has been segregated laments that some aids are afraid of him and ignore him out of fear. He and they understand and are blessed.
I enjoyed reading the summary of salvation history in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles today. Paul and his companions who had been preaching found refuge in a synagogue on a Sabbath and entered to pray. The service was different from what we might be used to. The leader asked the congregation if anyone had a word of exhortation to stand and speak. Paul got up and in less than 200 words instructed them about how God entered their lives, sent them judges, kings and finally a messiah Jesus.
Throughout the centuries we have been blessed with men and women who have stood up and told us the story of our salvation. The family, spoken of today as a domestic church has been keeping alive the person and message of God, Jesus in their home modeling for children and neighbors the behaviors Jesus modeled for his disciples: service, humility, self-sacrifice.
People ask what will happen to religious practice since churches have been closed and the faithful have not been able to participate in church services. Will they return? It remains to be seen but what we are seeing, and witnessing are legions of people who have appropriated the lessons that Jesus taught his disciples confirming that the Holy Spirit he said he would send has indeed arrived and is in our midst.
How are you blessed? Take a second to think about it and let us know below in the comments if you would like.
About Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C.
Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C. is Chaplain at the Father Peyton Center in Easton, MA. Before coming to Holy Cross Family Ministries he served as a teacher and a parish priest. He also served for six years as a General Assistant of the Congregation in Rome, Italy. Originally from Fall River, MA, Father Leo grew up with eight siblings. Gifted with several languages, he is able to serve the Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, Spanish and Haitian communities. When he's not greeting everyone who comes to the Father Peyton Center, you can find him regularly reading newspapers!