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Grateful for the gifts received by “Simons”

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When last I left this column, I was still trying to recover from a break-in at the parish rectory. While it was a moment for me to reflect on the vulnerability that Christ faced in both becoming Incarnate and facing the trials of Holy Week, another (much more welcome) scenario soon played itself out: allowing various Simons of Cyrene to pick me back up.

Soon thereafter, friends started to call in (once my phone was back in working order!) to see what they could do to help. One friend in particular set up a crowdsourcing fund online for others to help cover the cost of the insurance deductible. Various others from around the country shared the message via social media and in just a day and a half, everything was back up to speed and funds were matched. I was humbled by the generosity of spirit that was showed, especially by complete strangers! It was a moment when I truly felt the presence of so many ‘Simons’ who helped Our Lord carry his cross and were now stepping in to help me carry this particular burden.

It was a wonderful insight into the how the burdens of one are lifted by the shoulders of many and how we are all united in Christ Jesus.

But the phone call that was the most humbling came a week after the shock of finding all the things missing: a young man had just won my iPad on eBay and wanted to return it! There was a lock screen left on the tablet, so that it was not useable unless unlocked by my specific passcode. As he recognized that it was a stolen computer, his response was wonderfully genuine: “If I were in that situation, I would want it to be returned. So I want to send it back to you.” I was floored and greatly appreciated his generosity and humility in sending it back! There are good people left in this world!

As I have continued to reflect on these events, the unity of the Body of Christ continues to amaze me, particularly the thoughts from St. Paul in First Corinthians 12:26: “If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” So many friends and parishioners reached out to express condolences and offers of help, that it really was an easy burden to carry, even through the frustrations of trying replace all the stolen items, to the fact that some even offered to let me have their own tablets in order to continue the work of the Vocation Office!

Truly, we are all one family in Christ! What a wonderful testimony and hallmark to be united in Him. As we bask in the glory of the Easter Season, let us pray for one another. Let us be aware of the other for the sake of the other. Let us be united in the Cross of Jesus Christ that He might continue to be proclaimed in all times and seasons. And the love which knows no bounds might continue to illuminate the darkness of our world.

Father Kyle Schnippel is the archdiocesan vocation director. 


This The Catholic Moment column originally appeared in the May 2014 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph. 

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