Who is Your Neighbor?

19 Jul
Jesus in the Bread Line -Fritz Eichenburg

Jesus in the Bread Line -Fritz Eichenburg

“For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3: 26

The first question I get after from returning from our annual mission trip is, “So, where did you go? Mexico? New Orleans? A reservation in North Dakota?”

It’s not uncommon to witness a look of surprise when I tell him I was with 100 teens in North Minneapolis serving Ascension Parish and the people within the community. Yes we stay local. The week is filled with repairing fences, painting kitchens and cutting down trees. The evenings are spent in reflection, Eucharistic Adoration and socialization.

I always tell parents when they drop their children off the first day, that they will most likely have a changed teenager coming home to them at the end of the week. It’s an interesting transition as the week progresses, most of these teens on the mission trip are from the Western Suburbs and have no clue that North Minneapolis exists.

I often tell the teens that through this service, you are going to come to realize who you truly are, and who those are around you are as well. This week becomes a lesson in identity. You truly cannot help your neighbor unless you know who you are. If you don’t know who you are, then you do not know who is your neighbor. This mission trip is in proximity helping our neighbor, but it stems to a familial, local and global perspective.

As Catholics we are so incredibly blessed to be tied to one another through the Eucharist- through Jesus Christ. If God is our Father, then that makes us His children. If God is the Father to all, then we have a ton of siblings. Nothing makes our Father smile more than us helping out our siblings.

This is why we help, this is why we go on mission, and this is why we love. We are all one family under the protection and reign of our Heavenly Father. So always remember you are a child of God, and the next time someone needs you, don’t ever forget to serve them as anything less than your brother or sister.

-Kari Elsen


7 Responses to “Who is Your Neighbor?”

  1. 8 kids and a business July 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    “I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” Mother Teresa

    • Kari July 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      Hi “8 kids and a business”,
      Thank you for Blessed Mother Teresa’s beautiful quote and reminder. There is such joy in service when you are able and willing to unite your sacrifice with the Lord’s love. Loving people through service is redemptive. I’m sure you know a lot about sacrifice and service if you have 8 kids and a business!

      I hope you continue to follow The Heart of the Matter, we appreciate your interaction!!

      Peace and Prayers,
      Kari Elsen

  2. Daniel Undem July 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Great reminder of what we are all called to do. God Bless.

    • Kari July 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

      Thanks Daniel!

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