"Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country."
This quote from a speech by President John F. Kennedy has made the rounds for a number of years now. It was the opening line of our Student Council President's Inaugural Addresses this evening. It is an inspiration to many. And, it is also correct.
So often, we reflect the thoughts of "the entitled" and we expect things to be given to us, done for us, granted to us. We do not think about others.
Friends, that has got to change.
This evening, I had the privilege of attending the Induction Ceremony for our school's Student Council.
The president of that council, in his campaign speech, as well as this evening, spoke of making it a priority to have a Junior Garden Club.
A little background.
Our parish has a Garden Club. It is made up, basically, of retirees who donate every Wednesday and Friday morning to the upkeep of our parish grounds. They plant flowers. They mow lawns. They trim trees and bushes. They do whatever needs to be done to beautify the facilities and, believe me, it shows.
They even work throughout the winter.
When the winter weather comes around and the grounds cannot be done, they turn to inside jobs. They have refinished the woodwork in our church and chapel, replaced kneeler pads, and done a host of inside jobs as well -- all to the benefit of the parish.
Nothing more than the opportunity to see their work please the parishioners as well as the fellowship that they share. They always have a coffee and donut break midway through the morning and they enjoy each other's company.
It was so pleasing to me to hear our eighth grader speak about getting a group of students together to help the Garden Club.
This is the kind of vision that the Church -- and the world -- needs. We have to look around and ask how we can be of service.
This was confirmed, for me, not only in the induction this evening, but also in today's feast.
The Church celebrated the feast of St. Vincent de Paul.
He was a man who, as a priest, wanted to have a relatively easy life. He did not want to have to do a lot of work. He wanted to have it made.
But, a deathbed confession made to him turned his life around.
He saw the need of others around him and he energized himself to serve the needs of the poor. He did such an exemplary job of it that, when he was canonized, the Pope made him the patron saint of all charitable organizations.
We cannot ask, "What can you do for me?"
We have to start asking -- and living -- "What can I do for you?"
Then, and only then, will we prove ourselves to be followers of the Lord.