While visiting my family in Melbourne, FL for Easter, I was compelled to spend a couple of days serving the hungry at a soup kitchen called The Daily Bread.
I met a woman named Shay who has three children of age 10, 9 and 6. Shay is working towards becoming a pharmacist. The Dad is no longer in the picture and she is at risk of losing her kids to the court due to lack of funds to take care of them. She told me, “Maybe if I can figure out how to be forgiven, then God will hear me and let me keep my kids.”
I responded boldly, affirming God’s endless mercy. I shared the beauty of the Sacrament of Penance but specifically stressed that she didn’t have to do anything to earn the hearing ear of the Lord. She seemed to listen and we were able to pray together for her situation.
The next day, I brought back some socks and a football for her kids and she seemed in much better spirits. Even as she told me about the tons of homework she had to do, there seemed to be a greater sense of hope for her life. She even told me that she trusts that God will take care of her and her kids no matter what.
My brothers and sisters, we must serve the poor. We must provide presence to the elderly and widowed. We must give from our excess and even give from our own necessity.
There are many more like Shay. I met a 24 year old, Keith who’s trying to make a living waxing cars. He has a set of twins already whom he doesn’t get to see very often. Brenda gave birth to a daughter 5 months prematurely. Brenda is now the grand-mother of 6 beautiful grand-children. They too eat at the soup kitchen because they can’t afford to provide for their family on their own.
This is the Christian life: to be like Christ, and Christ served those most in need. He dined with sinners and spent most of his time with the sick, the poor and the suffering.
I invite you to ask yourself, “What gifts has God given me to serve those most in need?” Pray about the Lord’s call in your life. What’s your mission?
Jesus says, “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Mt 25:45).
Not only that, my friends, but I can testify that true joy was found in my serving at The Daily Bread and every time I step outside of myself to serve Christ found in His poor, sick and suffering sons and daughters. Let’s answer the call of the risen Lord!