"Charity begins at home." But, does it really? This view point does well in a world, in which we think that everything that happens is about us. But perhaps when we are strictly focused on our own comfort and well being, our attitudes to larger issues are filtered. This often becomes a reality particularly in our attitude toward stewardship often comes from what is left over and our charity is not primarily focused on the needs of others.
Luke and Paul in our readings (Luke 4: 14-21 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a) use two different approaches to make their point that perhaps can be entitled it’s not just all about me.
When we are faced with events like Hurricane Sandy or are engaged with guests at Family Promise or involved with feeding people at St. Mark’s kitchen, we are prompted to think about our responsibility to others and our egos must take a back seat as we minister to those whose voices are temporarily muted: it's not just all about me.
Paul lays it all out for us as he gives us an organizational plan for the individual and the community: “Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. The body is centered in the love of God - the Spirit that animates all of life.”
Jesus proclaims in his quote from Isaiah –"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” It is a world of inclusion where our sense of self is other directed rather than “me oriented.” Compassion for the least is the foundation for community life and communal work provide a “place” where we care for the least.
Luke builds on the power of the Holy Spirit that he sees realized in Jesus and Paul tells us that the church is to be a community of mutual care. We gather to remember that we belong to God and remember that as God has blessed us, we are to be a blessing to others.
David Steindl-Rast in his book, Deeper Than Words cites Thomas Merton’s “take” on our connectedness: Because God is love and the love is the Yes to belonging, God’s Holy Spirit is the power that animates the deepest belonging of all to all. Jesus stood up for love, belonging, and connectedness in the Holy Spirit, and so his life—from his very conception-can be understood as CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, as the realization in history of something that God, beyond time CONCEIVED.