By Theresa Montminy
Happy New Year! I want to open this new ministry year with a short story . . .
There was a man who owned an orchard. He worked very hard on the maintenance and cultivation of the trees in his care. In early season, the mango trees would scent the fields with their incredible smell and the ripened fruit was always sweet and juicy.
During the harvest season, the farmer would work very hard to carefully pick the mangos so that the sap from the tree stem would not touch the fruit when he snapped it off because he knew it would damage the mango. He sold the mangos to his neighbors from a small stand on his property. He used the revenue thoughtfully to provide for the needs of his family and to help his neighbors.
One particular year the weather in the region was extremely hot and humid ... so hot in fact that his neighbors’ limited their outside activities drastically. It happened at the exact time of the farmer’s harvest. This worried the man.
One particular day ... after days of not having even one customer, the man got very discouraged. He sat down on the side of the road near his stand ... took one of his mangos and peeled back the outer skin, sliced it, took a bite and enjoyed it. He kept slicing and eating ~ this fruit is truly the sweetest ever, he noted. The juice of the mango dripped down his arms with the sweetest aroma he had ever known.
As he continued to eat, he noticed a pair of sandals; surprised, he looked up and saw a man. “How’s the fruit?” the man asked. The farmer responded by slicing off a piece to give to him. I’ll take two of them, said the man as he sat near the farmer. They ate of the fruit and shared time together. Soon he noticed two other sets of shoes, he looked up again. Standing there was a mother and her young son. “How’s the fruit?” said the woman. The man gave each of them a slice. I’ll take four, said the woman as she and her son sat down. And it continued until suddenly the man noticed all the mangos were gone.
What can we learn from this story?
Are we working so hard and are we so busy with the work of the Church that we’ve forgotten what it is to BE Church to others? How does our call to be disciples of Jesus, to follow Him, help us to become good stewards of our human and financial resources? What is the road to Mercy in the modern Church?
Our ability to look beyond the surface and to see people’s humanity may help us to understand that you don’t change the past, you change the future. Mercy (forgiveness) might just be the “mango” on the road to Mercy in our life.
On April 13, 2015, Pope Francis announced that an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will be celebrated between December 8, 2015 and November 20, 2016. We are called into God’s unfailing mercy to fulfill His plan in our life. In Luke 10:2 we read; “He said to them, the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few ...” The bigger picture of mercy answers the call to send out more laborers so that we can unite in our efforts to serve Him!
The Works of Mercy are not always as easy to understand as I would like. So, I thought that this year we could discuss the value of the Works of Mercy. There are 14 in all, seven Spiritual Works of Mercy and seven Corporal Works of Mercy. Their values are interdependent and help us to grow in wisdom and grace before God.
Please join me in prayer this year, may God help us to use our gifts to join together to change the world ... one day at a time! Yours in HIS service, Terrie
Theresa Montminy is Director of Mission Advancement in the Diocese of San Bernardino.