As summer winds down and a new school year begins, you may have seen over the past few weeks a school supply drive we had here at St. Francis, with large bins in the stewardship center filled with bags of pens, pencils, notebooks, calculators, and backpacks. We collected 223 backpacks and more than half a ton of school supplies and if you saw the stewardship center, you saw how those bins were overflowing with all kinds of things. There was something almost biblical about the response – if not the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, then certainly a multiplication of Bic pens, Ticonderoga pencils, Five Star notebooks, and brightly colored backpacks. Where did they all go? On the Sunday evening of the last day of the drive, I walked down the long hallway to Founders Room, where several volunteers were sorting through all the supplies, filling the backpacks, and carting it all out to waiting cars. The supplies were then delivered to three different organizations in the area: Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Louisburg; Interfaith Food Shuttle; and Passage Home – all of which have regular contact with people who are having a hard time making ends meet.
And that is what the church – this church – is called to be: the arms, the heart, the body of Christ alive and active in our little part of North Raleigh, taking what we have, offering what we have, blessing what we have, sharing what we have, so that “all have their fill” (John 6:11), which we heard in the gospel a few weeks ago.
Somewhere in Louisburg, somewhere in Southeast Raleigh, somewhere along the route of the Interfaith Food Shuttle, there is a young student who opens a backpack and finds a pencil or a pen or a notebook which themselves are promises of learning something new and opening up a new horizon. Thank you to all those who helped pack and deliver the supplies and thank you to everyone who brought supplies, as we here at St. Francis hear the words at the end of mass to “go” and be signs of God’s goodness and abundance in a world that longs for that.