At the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he challenges us to put his many words into practice. (Mt. 7:24) We are to love, to forgive, to care for those in need, to be generous, reflect the Beatitudes, seek God and his kingdom, and trust in God in all things. (Matthew, Chapters 5 – 7)
When we do these things, Jesus says we are like a man who built his house on a rock. The rains came, the streams rose, the winds blew, but the house remained and did not fall. The rock, of course, is Jesus.
What kind of foundation is your life built on? Is it based on the values of the world – wealth, position, pleasure and all of the things that popular culture esteems – like a house built on sand; or is it built on love and the values Jesus describes in his Sermon on the Mount?
I have friends who have been volunteering for Special Olympics for over 40 years. In addition to Special Olympics, they were instrumental in starting and funding one of the first special education programs in a Catholic high school in the U. S – St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Chantilly, Virginia. More than a dozen students with intellectual and developmental disabilities have enrolled in this program each year since 1998, including our daughter, Emily. More than a hundred students from the general student body volunteer each year as peer mentors to these students, assisting with their inclusion in various academic courses and school activities. As a result, students with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive an education that serves their academic, social and spiritual needs in a loving and nurturing environment.
These same families joined with others to establish Porto Charities, a non-profit organization to raise funds to support inclusive education and employment in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. Today, with the support of Bishop Michael Burbidge, there are special education programs in all four of the diocese’s high schools and sixteen parish schools. Twenty-seven young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are employed in the diocese’s offices, schools and parishes.
On June 24, Porto Charities will hold its 1st Annual Advocacy Awards Dinner, beginning with mass celebrated by Bishop Burbidge, followed by a reception and dinner. Advocacy Awards | Porto Charities
The families involved may not talk a lot about their faith, but Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
How are you putting Jesus’s words into practice in your life?