OUR FIRST RESPONDERS
For the first eight years of my priesthood, I was the police chaplain of Knox County, Illinois. As a result, I developed a deep love and appreciation for the police. The love and respect I have for them grew immensely over the last years when they faced terrible abuse at the hands of a sect of people throughout the country. I honor those officers who chose to stick it out and endure the abuse they encountered day in and day out.
I respect the officers who endured as much as possible until it got too much for them to bear. I think of firefighters who, like police officers, risk their lives for people they don’t know. Let’s remember nurses who put their health and lives at risk, taking care of covid patients whom they didn’t know. Hats off to all these heroes.
I see all these public servants keeping the commandment of Jesus in today’s gospel: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” Incredibly, the sacrificial love of Jesus on the cross is lived out every day in people who may or may not be His disciples. He said His gospel would be preached to the ends of the earth. It is as St. Francis of Assissi reminded us, “Preach the gospel always. And when necessary, use words.” Wow!
Jesus commands us to love as He loves us by laying down our lives for others. Look for those opportunities today to go out of your way for someone. Proclaim the Good News of Jesus by your actions.
And when you see one of our first responders, thank them for their service and say a prayer for the Lord to protect them.
IGNITE THE FIRE!
Fr. Rick Pilger, IC