Dear sisters and brothers,
Easter is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead after being crucified on a tree. Yes, the cross was made of a tree. From His sacrifice another tree sprouted – the Franciscan Tree of Life (FTOL). Many of you know the missionaries who “pollinated” this tree carrying out Christ’s entreaty:
For I was hungry and you gave me sustenance; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you looked after me; I was in prison and you visited me. Then the righteous will answer, Lord, when did I see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you drink? Our Lord answered “Truly I tell you, just as you did to the least of my family you did for me.” Matthew 25:35-40.
Who are these righteous people? They are all those who help us at the Casa Franciscana Mission to deliver daily the life sustaining services described by Matthew. They are you! The FTOL chronicles over 50 years of the meals that you served; the sick that you attended; the thirsty that you relieved; the naked that you clothed; the shelters that you provided; the prisoners that you comforted. I invite you to go to www.casafranciscanaoutreach.org and “visit” the Tree of Life. See what you have grown!
But the work is not done and the Tree requires constant cultivating. Christ continues to call you from His tree, the cross. The pages that follow show the struggle of one family. Envision yourself in their place. Reach out to these struggling sisters and brothers as a way of honoring Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. After all, you were made in His image. I know that you will do no less than to heed His words and to care for the least of His family. Have a blessed Easter.
Peace and all good.
Fr. Martin Ibarra, OFM