by Ken Rolheiser

Altruism, volunteerism and life after death

There is a priceless Charlie Brown cartoon where Charlie is sitting beside Snoopy and says, “Some day we will all die, Snoopy.”
“True,” says Snoopy, “but on all the others we will not.” We will die on that one day, but we will live until then and after that! What a marvelous truth!

We live our lives trying to do good in the face of death. The Lord reminds us of his plan and our shortcomings in Jeremiah 2:21: "Yet I planted you a choice vine, a completely faithful seed. How then have you turned yourself before Me into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?”

The Easter Season is our time of redemption. The Resurrection takes away Death’s sting. It is only in that freedom that we can pursue with zest life’s many tasks. Madeleine Begun Kane shares this limerick and haiku on multitasking:
It’s risky to drive while you eat,
Most especially pasta with meat:
Slurping red sauce is rash—
You might very well crash
And leave evidence trails head to feet.

Lectured to not do
Two things at once, he obeyed
And always did three.

The fire of the Holy Spirit in this season of Pentecost frees us for action. Sin is left behind if we follow Christ as his disciples. Besides our day to day living we can do much to help our neighbour in volunteer organizations and charitable works.
In our opening cartoon Snoopy has reminded us that we are alive, and we will be alive after we die. Freed from the constant fear of death our hearts turn to altruism, to loving our neighbour.

In Saskatchewan we have record setting generosity. There is Telemiracle 2018 where a province of one million people with some outside help raised 7.1 million dollars. There is the Humboldt Broncos Go Fund Me raiser that to date netted more than 15 million, again with some world help.

Test yourself for that generous spirit. There are three questions to answer: 1.Did you help a stranger in the past month? 2.Did you donate money to a charity? 3.Did you volunteer some time for others? If you did one or all of these, you are a volunteer.

Last year in Saskatchewan the 10,600 members of the Knights of Columbus donated 1.2 million dollars to charity and almost one million volunteer hours. And that is merely one organization of many in this generous country.

From where does the motivation come? “I am the vine, you are the branches; whoever remains in Me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Joined to Christ, the vine, we can do all things. Put everything in God's hand and eventually you will see God's hand in everything (author unknown).
Let us plant our roots near a stream so that we will not fear drought or heat. Then we can pursue good works and not fear death.

You gave life to the dead, and led mankind from death to life, give eternal life to all those we meet today. You brought confusion on the guards at your tomb, but joy to your disciples, grant the fulness of joy to all who serve you. (from Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours)

“So let your light shine before others” (Matthew 5:16).

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