“Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s!”  How do we live in two realities?  It is not acceptable that we simply ignore or despise the society and world we live in.  We also cannot simply set God and the truth of our faith to the side.  God does not look for us to live outside the world but rather live within it and finding ways to make His presence real and tangible.  What belongs to God is truth, honesty, compassion, mercy – and each and every one of us.  Care and respect for one another is paramount and should rise above all other considerations.  That care and respect extends not only to those we agree with or condone, but also to those who we view as our enemies or as different.  As Christians we are called to an honesty and a love that seeks to embrace and respect all.  God’s love is universal and not based on our acceptance of Him.  Likewise our love for others should not be based on their acceptance of a particular set of beliefs.

As Vincentians, we may find ourselves on occasion dealing with situations we may at first find offensive.  It is easy to judge and walk away.  Much more challenging is to – through our love and care – show the presence and face of Christ, being loving, merciful and compassionate, seeking not to change but to embrace, humbly serving those we encounter.  In so doing, we are reminded that Christ continually extends his love and compassion to each of us, even when we are less than perfect.  Do we extend our care for others based on their need and not their worthiness?

Father, give me the grace to be compassionate in all circumstances.  Allow me to look past differences and see your presence in all whom we serve, regardless of circumstance.  Help me to accept the imperfections of others that I too may be accepted and loved in spite of my imperfections.  I pray all of this in your Son’s name.  Amen

Deacon Mike