Today's Gospel: Mark 6, 30-34 - St. Paul Miki & Companions
I was impatient to get to my destination - I especially did not want to be bothered by the homeless person with the cardboard sign at the busy city intersection where I was stopped at a red light. "Why do "they" do these things?" I thought as I stared fixedly ahead.
Then something that could only have been the Holy Spirit caused me to turn my head, our eyes met, and I looked - truly looked - at this young woman dressed in a t-shirt and army fatigue pants. My "heart was moved with pity" for this child of God in such obvious despair. Watching her with tears streaming down her cheeks, I knew that the money I gave her would not be spent on drugs or alcohol but was needed for her survival. I also knew that this was perhaps the first time she had done something like this.
I don't remember what her sign said, or if I even read it, but I called her over, reached frantically for my purse while praying the light would not change to green and pressed what could not have been more than a few dollars in her hand. She said, "Thank you! Bless you!" I blessed her and promised I would pray for her and I did - I prayed unceasingly for her for several days. I asked others to pray for her and asked God to send her hope so that she would not give up, that her life would improve, that she would not despair. I cannot remember another time in my life when my heart was so moved with pity by a chance encounter with a stranger.
This young woman gave me a gift to step out of my complacency and give what I could in the moment and beyond.
When have I ignored the needs of my fellow man because I am too busy to see?
Dear Lord: We are like sheep without a shepherd - help us to stop our busy lives and reach out to those around us. Move our hearts with pity to give to those in need.
Copyright 2016 Cathy G. Knipper
Cathy G. Knipper is a former journalist turned publicist for Pauline Books & Media, the publishing house of the Daughters of St. Paul in Boston, MA. She is a wife and mother of three adult children.