Be an online ‘Good Samaritan’

“I have asked you. They have asked you, and she, my mother, has asked you. Will you refuse to do this for me, to take care of them, to bring them to me?” This is what Jesus said to Mother Teresa in a vision she had shortly before leaving the Loreto Sisters to work with the poor.

In the Archdiocese of Denver we have people who are hungry or homeless. But the greater poverty, Mother Teresa reminds us, is to lack love, to not know God and experience his embrace.

This week the archdiocese is launching a redesigned website (www.archden.org) that has the mission of introducing people to Christ and his Church. We are doing this to help address the profound spiritual need that exists in our society and as a response to Pope Francis’ call to create a “culture of encounter.” Our faith is not a theory. It is an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ, who lives within the Church.

In his 2014 message for World Communications Day, Pope Francis explained how to build a culture of encounter by referring to the parable of the Good Samaritan, who acted as a “neighbor” toward the beaten and bruised stranger he met.

“A culture of encounter,” Pope Francis explained, “demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive. … The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.”

Using social media as a “neighbor” means drawing near to people and, in the words of the pope, taking responsibility for them as the Good Samaritan did. As you meet people, both in-person and online, I ask you to see it as a chance to be a neighbor who points the way to Christ.

It is easy to be afraid of the mess that might result from trying to help someone, to take shelter in the anonymity of the Internet and pass along unnoticed like the priest and the Levite did in Jesus’ parable. But Jesus calls us to focus on the person who is suffering from spiritual poverty or loneliness, rather than on ourselves, and to rely on his grace to help us.

As I read Pope Francis’ message on communications I came across a beautiful reflection that I would like to share with you so that you might be inspired in your efforts to be a neighbor in the digital world, and more importantly, in person.

“Let our communication be a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts. May the light we bring to others not be the result of cosmetics or special effects, but rather of our being loving and merciful ‘neighbors’ to those wounded and left on the side of the road. Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world.”

This is the work of the new evangelization: to bring the news of reconciliation and forgiveness to the world through new means and with new enthusiasm!

St. John Paul the Great, one of the Church’s greatest communicators and evangelists, reminded us of Jesus’ words of encouragement and so I recall them again.

“Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid to engage in conversations that touch those wounds that come from sin, from an absence of God or from damaged relationships. Do not be afraid to speak about the life, joy and happiness that Christ has brought you through his Church.”

May all of us take heed of the call to evangelize and to proclaim Jesus Christ to the world! Jesus is the greatest gift we can give another person, and a gift our world so desperately needs to encounter.

COMING UP: Colorado bishops issue letter on the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life Congressional policies

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We, the Catholic bishops of Colorado, urge Congressional Representatives to support the Hyde Amendment and the Walden Amendment. We also ask the Faithful to sign The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) petition to lawmakers encouraging them to preserve the Hyde Amendment, which can be accessed at: NoTaxpayerAbortion.com, and to contact their Congressmen and women to support the Hyde and Walden amendments.

The House Appropriations Labor and Health and Human Services subcommittee recently passed a spending bill that strips protections for pre-born children, healthcare providers,and American taxpayers by excluding pro-life provisions, including the Hyde and Weldon amendments.

The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortion in most cases, except for rape and incest, has received bipartisan support since its inception in 1976 – including by pro-abortion administrations. Hyde is critical in saving lives. The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that approximately 60,000 pre-born babies are saved every year because of the Hyde Amendment.[1] This is the first time in 40 years that the Hyde Amendment was not included in the annual appropriations bill[2] and failure to include pro-life amendments will only further increase divisions in our country.

The Weldon Amendment prevents any federal programs, agencies, and state and local governments from discriminating against health care practitioners and institutions that do not provide abortion services. It ensures that pro-life individuals and organizations can enter the health care profession without fearing that the government will force them to perform a procedure that violates their well-founded convictions. It has also received bipartisan support and was added to the appropriations bill every year since it was first enacted in 2005. [3]

Congress’ recent actions endanger the lives of pre-born children and infringe on the rights of millions of Americans who do not wish to participate in the moral evil of abortion. A recent Knights of Columbus/Marist poll found that 58 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions[4] and a 2019 Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of Americans think abortion should either be illegal or only legal in a few circumstances.[5]

The government should neither use taxpayer funds for the killing of pre-born children nor compel medical practitioners and institutions to violate their well-founded convictions. Congress must uphold these long-standing, common-sense bipartisan policies that promote a culture of life in our nation.

Human reason and science affirm that human life begins at conception. The Church objects to abortion on the moral principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with respect due to every human person. There has never been and never will be a legitimate need to abort a baby in the womb.

It is critical that Congress continue its long-history of supporting policies such as the Hyde and Walden amendments, and that all Colorado Catholics and people of good will make their voice heard in supporting these life-affirming policies.

Sign the petition to Congress here: www.NoTaxpayerAbortion.com

Contact your Congressional Representatives here: https://cocatholicconference.org/news/

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop of Denver

Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg
Bishop of Pueblo

Most Reverend James R. Golka
Bishop of Colorado Springs

Most Reverend Jorge Rodriguez
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver