Like many of you, I have spent most of my adult life doing something for the church—choosing and rehearsing music for Mass, preparing liturgies and liturgical ministers, teaching and writing about prayer, making worship aids, and spending countless hours working for the church away from home.
That’s why the Gospel for today is a hard one for me to hear. What if everything I’ve done in the church is actually lip-service—my “yes, I will go,” but little else? What if I’ve distracted myself with doing ministry that I’ve neglected to do the Father’s will? Is church ministry the same as doing “what is right and just” in the vineyard?
More often than I’d like to think, I have been content to sing week after week about the hungry being fed, yet have done so little to feed the hungry whom I drive past every day on the way to church.
Today, the Gospel and the words of Saint John Paul II are a reminder: “We cannot delude ourselves: by our mutual love and, in particular, by our concern for those in need we will be recognized as true followers of Christ. This will be the criterion by which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations is judged” (Mane nobiscum Domine, 28).