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153 Washington Place
Passaic, NJ 07055
(973) 470-0844


Friday, August 15, 2014

Becoming our "Best Tomato Selves"

Today, we celebrate the diversity of our crops!  Note that we are not celebrating the differences of our crops, but their diversity.  Semantics?  Not really.  Look at this photo representing some of our plum tomatoes in various stages of ripeness.  They are all the same "type" of tomato from the same vine, so they are very much alike. However, they are also decidedly different from each other in shape, size and color.  I am told that these tomatoes make delicious sauces.  That is, although they can be eaten individually, they are their best "tomato selves" when their similarities and differences are blended together into one tasty sauce.  The end product is a robust, savory celebration of diversity.

The Passaic Neighborhood Center for Women is like the pot in which the sauce is prepared. Various interconnected "ingredients" comprise the sauce.  The visioning of the religious communities and the bishop provided the recipe.  Diocesan personnel, Partners in Faith, religious communities and other benefactors gave the vision its base.  The staff of the Center and women of the neighborhood -- all of various ethnicities, age groups, socioeconomic backgrounds, shapes and sizes -- continue to flavor and transform the base into a ministry.  The end product is a robust, savory celebration of diversity.

In both instances mentioned above, the whole is much greater than its individual parts and the individual parts are strengthened and empowered by being a part of the whole.  In his Letter to the Romans, St. Paul wrote, "We, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another" (12:5).  It is safe to say that St. Paul did not have tomatoes in mind when he wrote to the Romans, but that does not prevent us from making that connection centuries later!  Today, as we strive to become our "best tomato selves," we are grateful for the diversity that provides this mission and ministry with its robust, savory flavor.  We pray for the grace of openness toward different people, customs and viewpoints that will continue to transform and strengthen this ministry into the future and build up the body of Christ.

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