Two years ago I traveled to the Dominican Republic with the Constanza Medical Mission (CMM) that we now know so well in our parish especially since the August Mission Seaside Gala, called The Constanza Medical Mission. For those of you who are not familiar with this South of Boston based medical mission, the Constanza Medical Mission focuses on sending doctors, nurses and medical professionals to bring medical care to a central area of the Dominican Republic, a mountainous, rural village called, Constanza. Medical care is needed throughout the community and this is where the mission serves the medical needs of the poorest of poor in the Dominican Republic. The week I spent in the DR with this community was a challenging one, but extremely fruitful. I had the opportunity to work with an optometrist doing eye exams and fitting children, their parents, and the elderly with either reading or distance glasses, or in some cases, both! We worked long and challenging days, but over four days we saw over 130 people for glasses! I must say: the expressions people had on their faces when they could see clearly again was priceless. (I have included a few of those joy filled faces on my page & just look at those smiles!).
As we began the week, the pastor from the local Catholic Church gave a homily about sharing. One thing the Constanza community did so well was share with one another. They want to share their food, possessions, time etc. with you, even if you are a total stranger.
The priest made a point to say that it is great that we are so generous about this sharing, but sometimes forget one important piece of sharing and that is; sharing our heart.
He invited the congregation to not only share their material possessions, but to share their hearts with their loved ones, and most especially strangers. Father Carmichael and I can certainly attest to the hospitable nature of the townspeople.
Pope Francis declared next Sunday World Day of the Poor. This announcement brought to mind the encounter I had with the people in this mountainous community and memories came flooding back with joyful remembrances. During this time of ‘Thanksgiving and remembrance of the poor among us’, I offer this invitation to each of you: after the blessing of thanks over your meals and the sharing at the table of a variety of many types of food, I invite you to share the most important part of that meal….your heart. Share a larger piece of your heart, with those you love, and yes, even share it with strangers. As Jesus tells us, what good are our talents and our faith if it isn’t shared with others? I’m sure he would say the same about sharing our heart. Jesus consistently shares his Sacred Heart with us, and in turn we can return the glory to Him by sharing our heart, and this journey of life, with those around us.