19.625

It’s time for your next assignment, Christian warriors. Today, Jesus is assigning each of us a patrol area. We will each be given a plot of ground to monitor. Our job is to make sure that charity and love prevail over this entire patch of ground. Are you up for it?

Great. Your patch of ground is 19.625 square feet. That is a circle about five feet across with you in the middle. It’s roughly the area within reach of your outstretched arms. Anyone that comes into your Christian Defense Zone is your responsibility. Whether you hug them, shake hands with them, listen to them, lend an ear or lend ten bucks is up to you, but in the words of Mother Teresa, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”

We spend too much time fretting over the Big Problems in the world and not enough time acting on the Little Problems within our grasp. I have nothing against solving Big Problems, and I think we all should do our part. But often, our part in solving the Big Problems requires doing the seemingly-little stuff that is within our reach. Concerned about poverty? Donate more to the church or St. Vinnies. Upset about income inequality? Pay your workers more, or spend your money supporting companies that do. Heartbroken about abortion? Pray and write a check to a pro-life pregnancy crisis center.

But beyond even these problems is a world full of small challenges that could dissolve in an instant with just a word, or a hand, or a moment of time offered by the billion or so of us who are Catholic. Most of the time, the incredible power of Christian love is not headline material. It won’t require a new national tax or international treaty. Just a helping hand, a kind word or a moment of that gift of time you’ve been given. Simple problems often require the simplest of solutions and all simple solutions come down to this: love your neighbor.

I am a big believer in the power of the pond principle. The pond principle is the notion that even the smallest pebble dropped into a pond starts ripples that can make a big difference. Your simple hand, word or gesture will start ripples that quickly spread beyond your 19.625 square feet. Jesus didn’t have a megaphone, a microphone or even a Popemobile, and yet his simple message of love covered an entire globe and continues to spread after 2,000 years.

Keep an eye on your Christian Defense Zone today. Don’t let love disappear from that zone even for an instant. You’ll be amazed at the huge difference you’ve made in the world.

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