Things are bad in the world right now…I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you. As Christians, we have hope and faith in Jesus…but the world looks like it is beyond saving at this point, and it may be tempting for us want to hunker down and go into self-preservation mode. I mean, what is the point of putting ourselves at risk anyway? Don’t we need to be responsible and take care of our own families first, before worrying about others?
I was sick last Friday, so had some time to watch a movie. It is called “Sabina, Tortured for Christ, the Nazi Years“. It is a true story of a young Jewish couple, (Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand), who risked their lives to rescue those who were being hunted by the Nazi’s, and to preach the Gospel when it was against the law to do so. I expected it to be depressing, so I almost didn’t watch it, but boy, am I glad I did! The story in a nutshell is that of two worldly, non-practicing Jews in Romania, who liked living the high life of partying and drinking. After Richard had a scare with Tuburculosis, he had a conversion to Christianity, and eventually Sabina converted as well. This was just as Romania was taken over by evil forces who wanted to join ranks with Hitler. When the Prime Minister was assassinated, the nazis took total control and began the propaganda storm against the Jews. Most people turned a blind eye as the Jews were rounded up at gunpoint and sent away to be imprisoned and executed. Somehow, by God’s providence, Sabina and Richard were able to escape arrest and continued to live in their apartment…although they had some very close calls.
While their entire world was burning down all around them…and they were helpless to do anything about it…instead of fleeing or hiding… they chose to do the good that they were able to do…in their own neighborhood. They overcame hatred and prejudice with love and self-sacrifice.
In one scene, they are knocking on doors in their apartment building, just to introduce themselves to their neighbors, while offering gifts of food. One man, after finding out they were Jews, grabbed the jar of jelly from Sabina’s hands and smashed it on the floor, before slamming the door in her face. They persisted…lovingly…to knock on his door weekly, until they won him over. He became a good friend and a member of their underground Christian group. They did this with many neighbors and began meeting in people’s apartments to read scripture and sing hymns. Richard became a Lutheran Pastor and they both continued to spread the love of Christ to everyone they encountered. One day a Romanian soldier, who had just come from the Ukrainian border, where he had massacred hundreds of Jews, came to stay with his old friend…in the same apartment building as them. Their neighbor warned Richard to stay away from this man, as he had changed from the way he had been in former times, and was now…as the neighbor put it, “a brute”. It turned out that this man was the one who had killed Sabina’s mother, father, sisters and brother just a few weeks before. The most dramatic scene of the entire movie for me was when this hardened soldier stood before Sabina…like a scared schoolboy…as he waited for her to react to the news that he had killed her family. To his amazement, she walked over to him and embraced him and began to tenderly kiss his face. He melted in her arms and began to sob as the realization of what he had done overcame him. He repented and became a follower of Christ, and one of the “rescuers” in Richard and Sabina’s group.
In the end, after the Hitler had been defeated and the Nazis were on the retreat, the tables turned and it was the German soldiers that were left behind in Romania that became the hunted ones. Romanians were hunting and killing the German soldiers…so what do you think Richard and Sabina did? That’s right…they hid the German soldiers and helped get them get safely out of the country, just as they had done for the Jews before.
It was so inspiring to me to see the impact of simply LOVING those around us can have!!! The world may be burning up all around us also, but we still have the ability to love our neighbors. We should never underestimate what God can do when we offer up the little that we are able to do. He can magnify and multiply our efforts and can save lives and souls! We just have to say YES!
We have the PERFECT opportunity to follow in Richard and Sabina’s footsteps here in Pittsburgh, from February 22nd through April 2nd during the Lenten 40 Days for Life campaign! We can shine like lights on those gloomy streets, and hearts and minds will be changed. Lives will be saved!
Contact me to get signed up for a time slot at the vigil at firstname.lastname@example.org, and mark your calendar now to attend our Kick off Mass and Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood, led by Fr. Chris Donley and Fr. Joe Freedy. We hope many priests and lay faithful will take part as well, as we push back the darkness with the Light of Christ in the Eucharist.
- Sign up for vigil hours at www.40daysforlife.com/pittsburgh, or email me at email@example.com to sign you up.
- Join us at the Kick off Event on Feb. 21st, and bring a pack of diapers for our local crisis pregnancy centers, who are in need of donations. We will collect them in the narthex of Epiphany Church and will deliver them.
- Consider donating to 40 Days for Life Pittsburgh to help cover the cost of a security guard, to keep our volunteers safe. Make check payable to 40 Days for Life Pittsburgh and mail to 411 School Street, Verona PA 15147. If you need a receipt for tax purposes the check should be made payable to to PA Foundation for Life with 40 Days for Life security noted in the memo section and mailed to PCUC, 3050 Pioneer Ave., Pittsburgh 15226.
- Consider donating to Divine Mercy Parish mission to the homeless in Pittsburgh by giving to the “Red Door”, which provides three meals a day for free from the back door of St. Mary of Mercy downtown. You can donate HERE. We have many people stop by our vigil who ask for money for food, and we are grateful to be able to direct them to the Red Door. We encourage our volunteers to donate to the Red Door, instead of handing out cash.
Thank you for doing the good that you are able to do…and for not hiding away while the world burns!