(This article originally appeared in the TAU-USA Spring 2022 Issue #105)
By SHARON WINZELER, OFS
When your earthly journey is over and you meet our heavenly Father, which of the two greetings do you expect?
- “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
- “Where were you?”
This proposition was presented by Carolyn Townes, OFS, national JPIC animator, at the national chapter.
“I invite you to ponder that thought. Meditate on it. Let it upset you. Let it make you uncomfortable. Because I guarantee, those who have nowhere to lay their heads at night are not comfortable,” Townes said.
Townes said she calls on the Holy Spirit each day for guidance on her mission in the world. “
How may I to show up for my brothers and sisters, especially those who lack hope? How am I to show up for the lost, the broken, the outcast, the marginalized, those who grieve and are in pain? How am I to show up for those who are scarred by the sin of racism, sexism, ageism, and ableism? And how am I to show up for those who are further scarred by those who deny the isms even exist,” she asked.
Her presentation encouraged Franciscans to recognize the power of loving and serving daily in our world.
“When we encounter the stranger, the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the migrant—regardless of how they got that way—we are called to minister to their needs,” Townes said. “
We are not called to judge, to condemn, to criticize or to blame—we are simply called to love and care for them,” she said.
The intention behind that love and service extends beyond our opinions. “Yes, we love and care for the unborn because we deem them “innocent.” But then we turn our backs once they leave the womb and become the migrant, the refugee, the homeless, the broken, the sinner. God loves them all just the same—whether they are innocent or guilty of living in a fallen world.
“God loves them all. Are we not called to do likewise? If we say we are followers of Jesus and Francis, that means we live, move and have our being like Jesus and Francis,” Townes said.
As followers, we are continually called to the life of service and love.
“Today…we tend to pick and choose which parts to follow and which parts we want no part of. Our Lord was a migrant and a refugee, but we don’t want to look at that part of his story because it doesn’t jive what I think my…savior should look like.”