You hear it all the time—how important it is to take care of those around you.  From your little brother or sister to the homeless you see in the street, it seems like society constantly reminds you how important it is to be concerned about others.  You might ask:  Why is service to others so important?  I know it helps them, but how does it help me?  How will serving others make a difference in my life?
The answer is quite simple.  When you decide to notice, when you decide to act, when you decide to make a difference (even in a small way), you have taken the first step in changing the world.
Look around you—who do you see volunteering their time?  Your parents or your friend’s parents may be coaching you & your friends in soccer, baseball, football, cheerleading, skating, hockey, etc.  Many parents and parishioners volunteer countless hours to help teach you about your faith & to make your Confirmation Retreat a memorable time for you.  Many people in Winthrop help on various community events such as the Viking Pride which helps our schools, the Beautification Committee who plants & cares for the flowers at the traffic islands & center area.  These are just a few of the people who volunteer in our parish & community.
What’s in it for you?  Your actions will not only be appreciated, but chances are, they will touch the lives of both the people you meet and many people you may never even see.  The greatest reward of serving others is how it makes you feel about yourself.  That special feeling is God’s way of telling you thank you! Thank you for caring!  Thank you for making a difference in the world!
What does the Bible say about service?  Jesus tells us time and time again how important it is to serve others as a part of leading a Christian life.  A genuine commitment to others is ultimately a commitment to Christ.  It will make a difference in the choices you make and even the vocation that you are called to.  In the book of Matthew Jesus says to the people “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”  In other words, if you are feeding or clothing the poor, you are doing the same for Jesus.
Give of your time and talents (we all have many hidden talents we aren’t even aware of until we are asked to help).  Give of yourself with a happy and loving heart!  It is when we do this that we realize that our actions in the name of service truly imitate Christ!  God will bless you with a rewarding sense of fulfillment that comes from serving Him through serving others.
CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY – When Jesus was describing the universal judgment that will take place at the end of the world, He spoke of the importance of good deeds done for others.  These are: to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, to bury the dead, to give drink to the thirsty, to shelter the homeless, to visit the imprisoned.  Again, “As long as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.”
SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY – Gathering together other words of Jesus, the Church also teaches us to:  counsel the doubtful, comfort the sorrowful, pray for the living and the dead, instruct the ignorant, forgive injuries, admonish the sinner, bear wrongs patiently.
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