One of the most remarkable things about the ministry of My Brother's Keeper isn't the massive amount of furniture or food that they deliver to people in need. It isn't the warm hospitality of the staff and volunteers. Nor is it the enormous amount of hard work that goes into each and every delivery. No, it is the faith filled conviction that the organization uses to stick to its mission of spreading the love and hope of Jesus Christ to those that they serve. Each and every furniture delivery ends, after all the furniture is brought in and setup, with one more gift; a crucifix.They tell the recipient that My Brother's Keeper is just the delivery service.The Man on the Cross is the one who gave them the furniture. It is a powerful moment of faith and hope that can leave the recipient stunned or quiet, joyful or tearful. It is truly a remarkable faith experience.
The Keeper wants to serve anyone and everyone that they can without asking for any sort of prerequisite inquiries or judgments.There are no forms, no standards to qualify, no need too great or too small for the Keeper to offer its services.The gift of the Crucifix symbolizes that self-gift and self-emptying that must take place in each member of the team. It also reminds me that this is the standard to which each Christian is challenged to meet. The ultimate moment of gift and sacrifice was the moment when Jesus Christ was nailed to the Cross to assume the heavy burden of the world's sins.
Whether the person receiving the Crucifix understands the significance or not, it has a powerful effect on the members of the delivery staff. Each one of us is reminded that it is not about us or what we do. Instead our actions and words should lead others to Jesus Christ. We need to bring that hope and love to a world that sorely needs it.When you walk into an apartment on the third floor of a building in downtown Fall River or Brockton and see that it is empty of most basic furnishings and amenities you realize just how frivolous our own complaints can seem.Yet these people that seem to have nothing often have the greatest faith because in some cases that is all they have.There is nothing else but their faithful belief that God will hear their cry for help and answer their prayers.
We are instruments of Christ in the world. We are the Body of Christ, and we must be the ones who are willing to conform ourselves to His way of life. We must be prepared to take up the Cross that is offered to us, and we must be willing to help lighten the Crosses of others. Christ never asked for prerequisites before He helped someone. As long as the person had faith they were worthy of Christ's love and hope. We often complain that the world is such a dark place filled with violence and destruction, but the worst thing that we can do is sit idly by and watch it happen. If there is no action taken then Christ cannot heal the world.
When we offer the Crucifix to someone on a delivery we are reminding both them and ourselves that it is Christ who provides for the world. We are only His instruments, His tools in helping reconcile God to man. Christ is the answer to the prayers of the poor, and we need to be just the delivery people.
Mr. Timothy Weed, C.S.C., is in his first year of temporary vows and Master of Divinity studies as a seminarian at Moreau Seminary on the campus of Notre Dame. Tim is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan.