As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. —Luke 24:51

This Sunday’s Gospel tells us the story of Jesus ascending into heaven and taking his place at the right hand of God. Jesus did not want us to feel alone, so He left behind His Spirit—the ultimate gift. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Communion, we are able to access His presence through the Spirit’s indwelling which allows us to live his teachings and share those gifts with others through concrete acts of love.

Jesus calls on us to serve the most vulnerable, to bring our gifts to serve others. Our community health workers are trained members of the very communities they serve. In order to do this well—to be able to support the positive health outcomes of the people they serve in the best way they know how—the community health workers embrace this same message. They are responding to Jesus’ call by tending to the needs of the community. The communities recognize them as leaders—people who care about their lives, their children—because they see that it benefits their health.

Community health worker statistics

Modine Ephraim plays an essential role in her South Sudanese community as not only a community health worker but also a leader of a women’s group. Her journey to becoming a leader began one day when she confronted a disorderly group of people that was causing a scene in front of children. This act took a significant amount of courage, especially in a culture where women are expected to be submissive. Since then she has been regarded as a leader in her community. Modine explains that this experience revealed God’s calling for her. By challenging the norm and publicly speaking up about something she felt was wrong, she discovered her purpose.

Today, Modine serves as an official leader of a women’s group, which she established, that provides sick women with protection and support. Modine, alongside other women in her group, frequently visits the sick and ailing to assist them.

“We visit women who are sick and help them to get to and from the clinic for medical attention. We also put together what little money we have to help those who really need it, so they can purchase medicine or food. We also provide care for children and help with cooking and other chores so that women who are ill are able to rest and get better.” —Modine

Community health workers are taking care of our brothers and sisters around the world, as Jesus would want us to do, building trust and serving their community to improve lives.

As Jesus said:

“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

—John 10:27-30

In grace and peace,

CMMB/Healthier Lives Worldwide

*Today’s reflection was inspired by Loyola Press.

Fathers Day 2019