Click here to watch Michael and Josh say THANK YOU!!
Over the past two weeks, our parish has raised an extraordinary amount of money for homeless people in Southeast Queensland. Last Wednesday evening, Fr Josh and Michael Stewart, our OLR school principal, slept rough on a cold night for the St Vincent de Paul CEO Sleepout. Thanks to the generosity of so many people, we managed to raise over $12,222.00 for Vinnies to assist our brothers and sisters in Christ who aren’t as fortunate as most of us.
This weekend’s readings communicate strong images of God’s power and presence in the forces of nature: the ocean and wind in particular. For the ancient Israelites, to enter the sea on board a boat was to subject one’s self to the unpredictable and terrifying nature of God’s power and presence. If the sea became rough with stormy winds and their boat sank, God was angry with them. If, however, the wind and sea became calm, God saved them from his wrath.
Thankfully, we no longer hold and cultivate the image of an angry God whose presence in the world causes fear and destruction; nor do we promote a God of fire and brimstone. We do, on the other hand, continue to experience the power and presence of forces in this world beyond our control; forces which, without strong support structures of family and a community, cause shipwrecks in our lives.
Our brothers and sisters on the streets are one such group of people who experience the destruction caused by forces, much of the time, beyond their control. Mental illness is a primary cause of homelessness in our communities – often resulting in broken relationships and a downward spiral of substance dependency and isolation, which only perpetuates the real problems.
The marvellous response to our Vinnies CEO Sleepout appeal tells us three important things: first, that ours is a parish that’s well-tuned to the social issues amongst our community; second, it tells us that we want and need concrete ways of being the hands and feet of Jesus to those who need help most of all (Mt 25:40); third, it tells us that when we know where our financial resources are directed and when it’s a worthy cause, we want to give over and above our Sunday offering.
While the giving of our financial resources is not the only avenue for being Jesus’ hands and feet, it’s perhaps the easiest way for us when we consider our parish age demographic. With 54% of Sunday Mass attendees in our parish over 70 years old, and a whopping 76% over 50 years old – according to the May census – giving forms a concrete and tangible way that we can immerse ourselves into the mission of our faith community: to reach out beyond our walls to the lost and forsaken.
Thank you – you personally – to what you give to our parish. You form a vital and integral part of our capacity to be Jesus’ hands and feed to those who need it most and in this instance, this means our homeless brothers and sisters who are loved both by Jesus Christ, and because of your generosity, by you.
Every peace and blessing, Fr Josh