As part of my Jesuit ministry, I’m volunteering at Cretin-Derham High in St. Paul. I spend time in Campus Ministry, doing anything from helping out planning their “Justice Week” to making Mass programs. Today, I was spending time at their Activities Fair, where different clubs and organizations try to get students involved. I was at the Habitat for Humanity table with Campus Ministry encouraging people to volunteer.
Because I had to help out some other novices with car troubles (they managed to puncture the radiator), I was late and only made it for when sophomores were at the fair. Two students in particular struck me with what they said.
Student One: “Well, I’m not 16 yet, so I can’t go. But I definitely will when I can! They built my house and gave me a home, so for sure I’m going to do this!” She said it in a rather determined, inspiring manner, as if no other co-curricular or school would keep her from sharing.
Student Two: I asked this student to look into, and jokingly said, “It’s during a school day–you even get to miss school to serve!” He replied, “Yeah, but school is important.” I said, “Yes, but so is service!” His quite disappointed answer was, “That’s what weekends are for,” and he walked away.
I say his answer was disappointing, but it also made me look at my own life. Do I only care on the weekends? Do I only care when I have time? Do I only serve and love my neighbors at moments convenient to me? If only homeless people had the convenience of being homeless on just the weekends so they could let themselves be helped by me. It doesn’t work that way though. I’m blessed that people are willing to let me serve them. Thanks to them, I get to know who God and Christ are. Christ is always, as is the suffering of the oppressed. Many of these people could tell me, “Bug off–you’re just another rich, white boy who wants to make himself feel good by taking 2 hours on a weekend to pretend he cares about the world.” Instead, these persons who have blessed my life invite me in always and share their lives. They exist as Christ. And if I’m to love Christ at all times and always, shouldn’t I love the poor and oppressed, even when it’s inconvenient for me?