“When we are generous in welcoming people and sharing something with them; some food, a place in our homes, our time, not only do we no longer remain poor: we are enriched. I am well aware that when someone needing food knocks at your door you will always find a way of sharing food; as the proverb says, ‘one can always add more water to the beans’! Is it possible to add more water to the beans – always? After you do so, we are demonstrating that true riches consist not in material things but in the heart.” (Pope Francis, July 23, 2013)Another story circulated about a group of 150 homeless men and women who were given a tour at the Vatican of the museum and gardens and then received dinner in the cafeteria. They were then invited to pray in the Sistine Chapel followed by a surprise visit and greeting by Pope Francis. “This is everyone’s house, it’s your house. The door will always be open for you all.” After shaking their hands, Pope Francis then asked them to pray with him. Pope Francis seems so determined to spread the message about giving of ourselves to the less fortunate.
“Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor.” (Pope Francis, June 14, 2013)I recently wrote an essay about young atheist girls criticizing Christians and Catholics when using the word blessed to describe a positive event that occurs in our lives, such as a cure for cancer or an engagement or wedding. Their comment said, “What about the millions that are poor or starving in other countries, why aren’t they fortunate enough to be blessed?” I had many reactions to their comments, the first being, “What are you doing to make a difference in their lives? Rather than complain about Christians and Catholics feeling entitled to call themselves blessed, why aren’t you using your blog to reach out to help these unfortunate souls with so much need?” I think there are many ways we can reach out to help the less fortunate with their suffering across the world. We have proven how good we are within the United States to help provide food for people in need in our own country through establishing of food banks and making food available all the time. We have school lunch and dinner programs for impoverished kids year 'round. We have the knowledge and the ability to help when called upon to do so.
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” (Mark 10:21-22)There are many organizations in the United States and all over the world whose goal it is to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty and offer programs for aid and assistance. What if we all committed to help at least one group? Just imagine the impact we could have in making a difference in so many people’s lives.
“To love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete; it means seeing in every person the face of the Lord to be served, and to serve him concretely.” (Pope Francis)It may not mean you will have people waiting to thank you at your funeral, but Jesus assures us that our rewards will come in heaven. That is certainly something we can look forward to.
Copyright 2019 Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh
About the Author
Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh (Cathy) completed her education in Special Education and English and now works as an Agent in the Insurance Industry. A mother and Grandmother, Cathy grew up in a large Catholic family and has spent the last 30 years as a caregiver for her husband, Jack. She is a cancer survivor, which inspired her to begin writing.