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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Looby

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023 (North Country Mission of Hope)

I am not preaching this weekend. Instead, we have the honor of welcoming Deacon Paul White as our guest preacher for our annual Mission Co-op Weekend. Deacon White joins us as a representative of the North Country Mission of Hope, an organization dedicated to uplifting communities, founded by the dedicated Sr. Debbie Blow.

The Gospel reading today from Matthew speaks about the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value. These parables beautifully illustrate the limitless worth of the Kingdom of Heaven - a treasure so priceless that it is worth selling all we have to acquire it.

The North Country Mission of Hope is a living embodiment of this profound message. Sr. Debbie Blow, along with the Mission, discovered their invaluable treasure and pearl not in material riches, but in the ability to serve and transform the lives of countless people in Nicaragua and across the globe.

A recent article offers us a glimpse into the incredible journey of Sr. Debbie Blow and the Mission of Hope. Initially a response to the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, their focus evolved over time into a mission for lasting, systemic change within communities. Their efforts span across vital areas such as education, healthcare, community development, and ecological sustainability.

Just as in the parables from today's Gospel, the North Country Mission of Hope found a cause worth dedicating their lives to - creating a positive impact in the communities they serve. They teach us that the Kingdom of Heaven is not just a distant goal to aspire to but can be realized here on earth through selfless service and enduring commitment.

As we contemplate the Gospel today, we must pose ourselves these questions: What is our hidden treasure, our pearl of immense value? Are we prepared to relinquish everything else to secure it?

The North Country Mission of Hope provides us with a practical demonstration of how our faith can be lived out in our daily lives. Every act of compassion, each sacrifice for the welfare of others, and each moment devoted to prayer are opportunities to experience the Kingdom of God among us.

As Deacon Paul White shares the experiences and endeavors of the North Country Mission of Hope today, let's allow this to open our hearts and minds to the transformative power of living out the Gospel. May the story of Sr. Debbie Blow and her mission inspire us to seek out and contribute to building the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Let us pray for God's blessings to continue to shower upon the North Country Mission of Hope and their remarkable work. Let us continue to pursue, appreciate, and contribute to the immeasurable treasure that is the Kingdom of God. Amen.

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