‘All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.’
— Matthew 23:1-12

The Limits of Charity

Make eye contact so you connect with their humanity; see them fully. I hope he is not waiting at the top of the escalator. “God bless,” he says as I drop a buck in his old McDonalds cup. I already bought my Street Sense newspaper this week. I have time to make sandwiches on Sunday—that’s easy. There is a new coffee shop opening, where will he sleep? He’ll only buy booze with the money. It is our bounden duty that we should at all times and all places…

I hate just walking by, but it’s hard to make eye contact if you don’t give him something. I feel unchristian, but you can’t give every day; it feels so futile. I judge people when they come out of Starbucks with almond milk lattes and he is just standing there looking down with his plastic cup. People don’t even see him but I know that is a choice they make from either guilt, fear or a lack of empathy. “God bless,” he says every time as I look him directly in the eyes with a smile, “and you as well,” I say. Each time it makes me feel better but it doesn’t really change his life.

Prepare for the Lord

Might an act of caring change me and my life? This is the gift of living in the likeness of Jesus and remembering that we are preparing for His coming again. We do not know when and how. He may come through the homeless and poor we pass daily in need of our humanity touching theirs and some help. As we enter this Advent season, we have so little time to remember that we are the vessels which carry the love of Christ forward into this broken world. Though I may not be able to solve world hunger or even be sure all my neighbors are fed, I can provide meals and gifts through the Cathedral outreach. I can drop something in his cup, look him in the eye and wish him a Merry Christmas. I can, by my daily actions of empathy, humility and caring, prepare myself for the coming of the Lord and strengthen my faith in His ultimate good winning over the evil of this world. I choose love, generosity and faith as I await the coming of the Lord.