Being the Hands and Feet of Christ

Post Date: January 14, 2022
Author: Laura Stephens

As I tuck back away my Christmas decorations until later this year, there is a sense of sadness at the closing of a season bursting with such joy and celebration. Months of preparation accomplished. Memories brimming with the open sharing of love giving us a new sense of God is with us. Graces and gifts from an encounter with the Christ Child still sweetly held in our hearts. 

I look at the space where the decorations once resided and there is a sense of the ordinary returning. I can settle in for the seemingly simpler days before we enter the next preparation season of Lent. But I know this is not a time to just be a “good” Catholic in name only. It is a time for continual conversion.

We are called back to participate in person at Mass to miraculously receive Christ within us in Holy Communion and to join physically together with our Catholic family. Within the liturgical season between Christmas and Lent, we are in what is called Ordinary time. This season is not ordinary defined as “simple or routine” but rather ordered or numbered. The readings for Mass focus on Jesus’ Public Ministry with all His miracles, teaching, and calls to conversion. 

So few people during His time (much like our own) did not comprehend the miracle of His birth, let alone His ministry. Jesus did not remain hidden from the world. When His time came, He spent time gathering people as Apostles and beginning to prepare the foundation of the Church. Jesus spent three remarkable years ministering and awakening people to receive His love. Throughout His life, Jesus’ eyes were always on the Cross which was the reason for His birth, ministry, and miracles. He came not just to be present for the people of His time also to personally heal, teach, save, and eternally unite us with Himself. 

Ministry is not a job exclusive to Jesus, foreign missionaries, clergy, or religious people. It is the vocation of all baptized people who are part of God’s family. All are called to share Jesus’ life and love with one another. Ministry is for all ages and people of any vocation. 

How can we share our experience of Christ with others? 

Ministry can be accomplished everywhere — at home, at work, and at the Church. All places are where Jesus needs us to spread His Good News of love, hope and salvation. Share with love, service, smiles, listening ear, and sharing from our heart. We will never know much impact our simple ministry of love can have for another person. It might be the only kind words they will hear. Our ministry might allow them to “see” Christ more easily and to experience His love. They likely need the reminder that God loves them through our witness. 

How have we received the fruit of ministry ourselves?

We each have a gift that we have received because someone shared Christ and His love with us. Whether it was our parents, family, friends, clergy, or a beautiful combination of all of them, their ministry allowed us to remain faithful and close to Christ. It was through their feet that remained steady on the path to Heaven that we could follow the way to Christ. Through their hands of service, we felt the tangible embrace of Christ. 

Take time this week to remember and thank at least one person that shared the faith with you. Allow them to know the seeds of faith, hope, and love that they planted in your heart. 

Though there have been so many wonderful witnesses of the faith in my life, particularly my faithful parents and dear Catholic friends, I would like to honor another beloved person. She had a smile and a way of plugging people into the ministry that best suited their talents and time. I meet her shortly after moving here from the other side of Houston where I served over 13 years of ministry on staff at my previous parish. She knew it was still in my heart to serve in ministry “on the other side of the fence” as I joked with her (volunteering not working as staff). I was honored to assist her in sharing the faith with Sacred Heart families, and it was a blessing to work beside her for several years! 

This amazing woman is still dear to me and Sacred Heart on the upcoming one-year anniversary of her death on January 16 — Becki Lipari. She was an incredible woman who spent decades caring for and leading thousands closer to the faith as she ministered here at Sacred Heart for 35 years. Becki touched so many lives, guided families closer to their faith, and loved the people she ministered to. Even as she fought hard against cancer, she continued to serve with joy and dedication. May we continue to honor Becki’s years of faithful service as we daily strive to be a committed Catholic community seeking to love God in all we do. 

Let us be the hands and feet of Christ helping others to grow in their faith through our words and actions!

Author: Laura Stephens, FF Sacrament Preparation Catechist

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