We are called to “clothe the naked”. How can we share this message in our parish? There is the obvious corporal work of mercy of donating clothes. This time of the year as the air gets crisp we are reminded to think of our homeless sisters and brothers and to clean out our closets. The St. Vincent de Paul boxes are overflowing at parishes, which is great. You might want to suggest that folks keep care packages in their cars, especially during the winter season. Good things to fill small bags with are socks, sweatshirts, bottles of water and snacks. It is great to slip a rosary or prayer card inside as well. But what does it mean to spiritually “clothe the naked”?
We can be the face of Christ to those who are conflicted and doubtful. So many have faith but they have not had the personal, life-transforming encounter with Jesus. They may feel that their sins are too great to deserve the love of God. When we create a culture of welcome and acceptance in our churches, they will feel loved no matter how sinful they feel. Giving opportunities to those who feel alienated, those suffering from divorce, infertility, or miscarriage through support groups attracts many back to the church. Once they see that they are not alone in struggling with sin, then their hearts will begin to be healed and filled with the One for whom they were created.
We can also instruct our youth on issues such as sex, marriage, and modesty. How? We can show them the God-given beauty of who they really are. We can provide parents with resources, like books and CDs in the gathering space. Lighthouse Media and The Chastity Project provide great choices for both youths and adults. With pornography affecting a younger than ever population, we need to make available more effective resources for families. Not everybody is ready to go to a program, but a book, pamphlet, or CD is non-threatening and can open a lot of doors. As for the youth, take advantage of the Good News Talks provided by the Respect Life office. We will come speak to the youth in your parish about chastity and life issues. Invite the 8th grade parishioners to an evening of Good News. By educating our youth on topics such as saving sex, cyber safety, abortion, pornography and chastity we can change help the culture in our communities.
What can your parish do to “clothe the naked” in your community both materially and spiritually?