Changing the world, one person at a time

gutierrez    I recently had the privilege of serving on the ministry team for a confirmation retreat for teens at my church parish. During a reflection, I asked the teens whether they thought they had the power to change the world.
    Surprisingly, only a few of the teens raised their hands. Immediately, a discussion began regarding all the problems of the world – violence, hatred, hunger, selfishness. After a few minutes, one teen raised his voice and said, “Despite all of this, I think we can change the world, one person at a time.”
    What a profound statement! What a marvelous insight! That is what God is calling us to do. He wants us to make a difference, one person at a time.
    Most of us are not called to be missionaries in a foreign country, but all of us are called to be missionaries in our own community. God has placed us exactly where he wants us to preach the Gospel. He has placed us in our family, in our workplace and in our community so that we can make a difference through our actions. He calls us to bear witness to our faith by the way we live our lives. Unfortunately, we get so caught up in what we want out of life that we forget to make time to help others. We forget to follow Jesus’ command to love our neighbor.
    It is through love that we have the power to change the world. Sometimes loving others requires sacrifice on our part. It requires that we give of ourselves unselfishly without expecting anything in return. However, there is always something gained when we love others; it is the satisfaction of knowing that we made someone’s life a little better. Every day offers us the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life.
    So, how might God be calling you to make a difference? Maybe your children need to hear more encouraging words or your spouse needs to know what a blessing he/she is to you. Maybe you need to visit your parents more often. Perhaps the next time you see a homeless person asking for money, you could give him something without judging his circumstances. Perhaps you could give up that daily cup of coffee from Starbucks and, instead, sponsor a child in a foreign country. Or perhaps you could go out of your way to help a co-worker or volunteer your time at your church.
    St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words.” Let your actions be your witness to the world that you are a Christian. Take whatever opportunity life presents to make this world a better place. Imagine what a wonderful world we would have if each of us was determined to make a difference in someone else’s life each and every day. We can change the world – one person at a time.  
    Judith Gutierrez is a parishioner of St. Clement of Rome Parish.

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