Pascha III (Bishop’s Appeal)
2017 – Cycle A
Acts 2:14, 22-23; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35
Life often involves walking with another person. Walking with another person is not always easy. By walking I don’t mean an evening stroll through the park.
Parents understands this. There comes a point when you need to let your sons and daughters make their own decisions and experience the joys or suffer the consequences of those decisions. All you can do is walk with them. Sometimes in silence at other times with words of encouragement or challenge. They may say and do things to lead you to believe they do not want you present walking with them – but they do. So there are times when you need to walk with daughters and sons at a distance.
Committed friends understand this. Friendships like all relationships can ebb and flow. Time and distance taking their toll despite the technology that promises to keep us in touch. Friends sometimes need to walk at a distance also; in silence, with challenge or encouragement, estranged or misunderstood. These are also part of the walk.
As a priest, I walk with people. My walks tend to be brief. I walk with people through the dark valleys of sickness and dying, of grief and worry: a daughter in jail, a distant spouse, a questioning of God, an unexpected diagnosis, a stubborn sin and a weak will.
Walking with another person is not easy. Often people give up and can no longer commit to the walk. Jesus knows the effort. Cleopas and his companion are sad and disappointed, their debating reflects anger and despair; they are confused. Is Jesus dead or alive? It is into this situation that Jesus draws near and walks with them. How would you have responded?
Today I want to invite you to walk with people.
I want you to consider walking with Teri Basdekis, Renee Morgiewicz, Carolyn Reynolds, McKenna Marzloff and Fran Romano. These are names of catechists from our parish, Saint Mary’s Crescent and our Lady, Queen of Peace Schenectady along with 3,000 volunteer catechists who serve our children, teens and adults in our parishes across this diocese.
I want you to consider walking with Robin Byrt, the director of Mary’s Haven, A Community Home for the Dying; a part of Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties.
I want you to walk with Sue Gilligan who has been teaching theology for 20 years at Bishop Maginn Catholic High School in Albany and Daughter of Charity, Sister Margaret Mary Hohl, DC, who oversees the food pantry at which the students volunteer at Cathedral Social Services.
I want you to draw near to Stephen Yusko, Daniel McHale, Zach Chichester and 15 other men who are discerning as aspirants and seminarians there vocation to the priesthood. I want you to walk with Paul Cerosaletti and his wife Amy and their children of our parish as together they discern Paul’s vocation to the diaconate.
I want you to consider walking with Lynn Gleuckert, Tracey Martindale and Angela Smith of Catholic Charities of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties who are our Catholic outreach to the many people: seniors, families and children living on the cusp of life, the mentally ill and those suffering from domestic violence in our area.
How can you walk with these people and the thousands of volunteers, staff, seminarians, catechists and social workers they represent throughout our Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany? I ask you to participate by a generous donation to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal. Through this annual appeal our Bishop, Edward Scharfenberger provides funding out of which Catholic Charites is assisted, catechists and seminarians are prepared for their work among us, diocesan offices assist the clergy and parish leadership with administrative assistance to healing marriages, future pastoral planning to caring for the sick and the dying.
We all at times need someone to walk with us. Will you continue to make a pledge and donate to walk with another person? If you have never donated to the Appeal, might you consider for the first time making a difference in another person’s life by your support. Every donation counts and someone you do not know will benefit by your drawing near and walking with them. Cleopas and his companion did not recognize Jesus. Our recognition is not as important as walking with another person.
I ask that you pray about the Appeal and your participation in it. Become a living part of a movement greater than yourself.