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Have a heart for people in need

Across the nation, more and more people live in poverty. This sad situation makes everybody with a conscience uncomfortable, yet it’s easy to harden one’s heart to the plight of people who are poor. It’s easy to think “get a job”; easy to cite our own ethic of hard work; easy to turn away, steely, smug and oblivious to a stewardship attitude that credits the grace of God for all that we are, all that we have.

If we pretend that poverty doesn’t exist, and render people who are poor invisible, we grow spiritually and emotionally impoverished. When we encounter poor people, we all can give at least a little wave — even a smile. As Christians, we can, at the very least, acknowledge the humanity of people who have — for whatever reason — been reduced to begging. We can make eye contact. We can bless them, or offer a prayer for them. We can have a heart for people who suffer the indignities of poverty.

This month, open your heart to compassion for those among us who are homeless, working poor, impoverished elderly, immigrants and anybody whose basic human needs for food, clothing, shelter and love go unmet. They are the ones Jesus loved and entrusted to His disciples.

When you’re grocery shopping, pick up a few extra items to donate to your local food bank. Many parishes make giving convenient by taking up collections of food at the church. Buy in bulk. Take advantage of buyone- get-one-free sales. Do you have some gently used articles of clothing you might donate to a shelter or clothing bank? Especially if you live in cold climate areas, be mindful of the need for hats, gloves, warm socks, coats and blankets. Towels and toiletry items also are welcome. You might save the soap and shampoo from hotels. Shelters, food banks and other such charities that benefit people who are poor are always in need of cash donations and other contributions, as well as volunteers.

And remember this: If Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus were in the United States today, they might well be seeking shelter at a facility for street people.

This article comes to you from Grace In Action (Our Sunday Visitor) courtesy of your parish or diocese.


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