Since each of us shares in the membership of our parish, and in a common faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, we have been made members of one family. This gives us a special relationship, a kinship with one another, and with all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. This can be a great support, and a source of needed strength, in times of suffering and sorrow.

I have often felt this bond at work both in my own life, as well as in the lives of others. In times of trial and loss, we as a family have felt the support that members of our parish rushed to provide us. I remember with special fondness and gratitude those six faithful women of our parish, who throughout my mother’s long illness, were always willing to visit her and tend to her needs when duty prevented me from doing so myself, or when we took much needed family vacations. Knowing that they understood our need, and were always ready to lovingly meet it, was a great comfort and a refreshing relief. These women offered us a precious gift – hope in the darkest hour.

Each of us needs to remember the special relationship which we share, as well as the wonderful example offered by these faith-filled women. We need to do what they did, and look around our church with care and sensitivity. Is there a hand that needs holding? Does someone need a shoulder to lean on? Does a new mother need a meal prepared or some wash tended to? Can you help an elderly person by running an errand or making a repair? We need to be mindful of St. Paul’s wise observation that “if one member suffers, then all the members suffer.” (I Cor. 12:26). We will thus have the sweet experience of seeing our love in action bring joy to a brother or sister in Christ. Isn’t that what family is for? Let us stop seeing past one another, so that we can see one another through.