by Fr. John T. Judie
September 16, 2005

During our Catholic worship this past Sunday, the Second Reading of the Sacred Scriptures was drawn from Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Chapter 14, verses 7-8 read as thus:

“No one lives for oneself and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

As I reflect on these ten years of the life, growth and work of “Fr. John Judie Ministries, Inc.”, these words certainly ring true for me. Permit me to paraphrase this text, if you will.

“No one does ministry for oneself or by oneself. No one gives of oneself without someone else being of benefit, and no one benefits without being a blessing to the one who gives.”

I find myself incredibly grateful (and humbled) by the gift of this ministry which God has entrusted to me. I have watched it grow and reach out to touch the lives of so many people on the other side of the world through the most generous support of all of you, our benefactors and friends. I have seen God raise up other workers to accompany me into this particular vineyard—and I have witnessed how they have come out of that experience more blessed than they ever could have imagined. I have witnessed the faces of our brothers and sisters that are filled with joy because the efforts of our hands and our hearts have done something to significantly improve their life-situation, encourage their willingness to survive and enrich the meaning of relationship in life. In my travels to East Africa over these past years, I have discovered the fact that the little we try to do is (in many respects) the first evidence of anyone demonstrating such loving and caring for the lives of people in a distant land. Most importantly, I have come to believe and trust the fact that what we manage to do as “good ministry” is experienced by our brothers and sisters as “true miracle” in their lives.

I am acutely aware of the fact that there is not one aspect of what has happened in ministry— here or there—that was accomplished by me alone or by any other person alone. Ministry happens because people dare to care and they are willing to share. Ministry happens because the hands that give bless the hands that receive; the hands that receive are a blessing to the hands that give! Ministry happens because we choose not to allow time or distance or cultural difference deny us the opportunity for right and good relationship with members of the human family anywhere they are to be found! Ministry happens because God “so loved the world that He gave us His Son”...and His Son showed us how to give...and our desire to be loving to others is released through that giving...and the grace of God abounds because of the giving of God’s people...and ministry happens, again and again and again!

I express my deepest gratitude to God for His willingness to trust me with the gift of ministry— with particular gifts for a particular ministry. I remain ever-grateful to all of you for the power of your loving and the generosity of your giving. This is what has enabled our ministry to happen in the way it has for these past ten years.

No one lives for oneself—and no one gets ministry done by oneself! May we continue to put our hands and our hearts together, so that ministry will continue to happen for all those whose needs are entrusted to our care—and may the good Lord Who has begun this work in us bring it to fulfillment!  Amen.