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Vincent grew beyond his original ministry zip code!

In today’s polarized political environment few have not heard of “identity politics”!

“Examples include identity politics based on age, religion, social class, profession, culture, language, disability, education, race or ethnicity, sex, gender identity, occupation, sexual orientation, urban or rural habitation, and veteran status.”

Anyone who is not in the “in” group is “othered”, not taken seriously, etc.

As I was thinking about that, this is so different from Vincent’s “politics”. Vincent may have started in the rural zip codes in France but he soon began to realize that the spiritual and material poverty he woke up to in Chatillon and Folleville existed also in the zip code of cities like Paris… and beyond.

This insight was apparently still developing when much later in his life he wrote in sending forth his missionaries,

“…our vocation is to go, not just to one parish, not just to one diocese, but to all over the world, and to do what? To set people’s hearts on fire, to do what the Son of God did. He came to set the world on fire in order to inflame it with his love.” CCD XII:215

If Vincent and Louise went beyond their ministry zip codes we who claim to be followers of him and his model Christ the Evangelize of the Poor should get over our zip code approaches to life.

Listen to the scriptures…

“as the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel (Good News) to every creature.” Mark 16:15

Isn’t that another way of saying we all are, thankfully, in God’s zip code?

Jesus and Vincent did not discriminate by geography, moral or physical, deserving or undeserving status. They took seriously the Our Father as recognition we are all brothers and sisters called to the kingdom. No one is “other”. or outside our zipcode.

Yet more importantly, do we understand these words the way Vincent did? Jesus’ words echoed in his mind and life. “If I, your Lord, have washed your feet. …” We must become foot-washing disciples!

How about us?

  • Are our ministry zipcodes too small?
  • Which zipcodes do we exclude from our lives … and ministries? (See list above.)
  • Do I realize that we all, thankfully, live in God’s zipcode?

Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk