Last week my husband Ben invited me to join him in the Corpus Christi procession at Denver’s historic Annunciation Church. As the curious neighbors came out to watch, Ben (with me reluctantly in tow) approached them and asked if they attended church anywhere, and, if not, if they’d ever considered joining Annunciation parish.
It was a wonderful, affirming experience to speak with the warm and kind-hearted people who welcomed us. One man, however, shocked us. He waved his hand in the direction of a dilapidated apartment building and said, “Look around you. The Catholic Church doesn’t care about the poor.”
We did look around, and observed three things. At least eighty houses in the neighborhood were renovated in the ‘90s by Annuciation Partners to help low-income families buy their own homes. Archdiocesan Housing funds the nearby Humboldt Apartments. And the Sr. Mary Lucy Downey Computer Lab provides free, after-school tutoring space.
That “sinful woman” in today’s gospel got it right. If you want to show someone how grateful you are to have been forgiven, give water for cleansing, a kiss for greeting, and oil for anointing. That is, provide a way for working families to buy their own houses, have affordable apartments for those who are poor, and have after-school care tutoring for their kids.
Paul’s words today will always ring true. We are fit for heaven because our faith in Jesus shapes us for heaven. But it’s the daily hospitality shown to those who are homeless, struggling, or need help with their math homework that reveals the depth of our gratitude that it is no longer us, but Christ who lives in us.
What acts of hospitality do you perform to express your gratitude to God?