Monday, September 26, 2005

Moved With Compassion We Reach Out to One Another - Reflecting on the Gulf Coast Disaster

The following is from Prayerful Reflections and Faithful Responses to the Gulf Coast Disaster, a free resource prepared by JustFaith Ministries. JustFaith offers gives permission to parishes to reprint this. Please simply acknowledge JustFaith Ministries in your reprint.

“For gracious and merciful is God, slow to anger and rich in kindness…” (Joel 2:13)

A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew (15:29-38)

“Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others.

How are the most vulnerable, the sick, the poor and the children being cared for and welcomed? How have you been moved to share your personal resources of prayer, time and finances to assist the people in need?

“They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they a saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they all praised God.

What can we learn about ourselves (our nation) from the official and unofficial responses to this catastrophe? Where have you witnessed the healing presence of God in this tragedy?

“Then Jesus called his disciples around him and said: ‘I am moved with compassion for the crowd because they have been with me now for three days and they have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry for they might faint on the way.’

What or who has empowered you to involve yourself, your family, your community in the humanitarian relief response? How has this enfolding disaster affected your attitudes, patterns and priorities?

“The disciples said to him, ‘Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?’ Jesus asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ They said, ‘Seven, and a few small fish.’

In what ways have your church, family and work communities been motivated to unite, organize and respond to this catastrophe? How are the immense resources of this and other nations being put at the disposal of those most gravely affected?

“Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

How are the stories, questions and implications of this disaster brought into the prayer life, sacraments and celebrations of your faith community? Where are the moral voices calling us to listen, respond, question and restore?

“And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Those who had eaten were four thousand men besides women and children.”

How are your family, your community, and your local church making space to accommodate the needs of the displaced and suffering people?