Yesterday’s Gospel, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man:
I often wondered why the detail is included that the dogs used to lick the wounds of Lazarus. What is the meaning of this? And yet, I remember as a child, our family dog would lick a scratch or a open sore for hours, as if trying to take it away. It is his ministry. The significance in the Gospel, to me, is that even though this poor man sits outside of the rich man’s door, the dogs were the ones who ministered to the man, not the one with plenty. I got inspired. I walk past a couple homeless people every day. I sometimes give them leftovers, if I have lunch with co-workers. I’ll eat my fill, and take the rest to these folks. But I don’t eat lunch, even once a week. I usually eat at my desk after Mass, a power bar, or something like that. So I resolved to sacrifice one of them a day, and give it to this old guy I see on the street every day. I’m trying to lose weight anyway. So the sacrifice, and the giving. Not just to give from my excess, but to give from my own consumption. Sure, I have lots of bars at my desk at work. So it doesn’t mean much if I give him one, and I still eat my fill. I will give out of my portion each day. I did it this morning. I was ready. But he wasn’t in his usual place, so I suspected I’d see him this afternoon. But on my way to work, I spotted him on another corner. Walked over to him and gave him a bar. One of my bus buddies saw me do it, and while I don’t do it to cause attention to me, she smiled, and I really felt good.
Father told us about his own experience walking down the street in his clericals. He walked past this homeless guy on the street, as many were doing. The guy called out to him “Father, you didn’t have to give me anything, but the least you could do is to acknowledge me here.” Father said he learned one of the greatest lessons of his life right then.
It doesn’t take much. I don’t like the idea of throwing money around, because as our government shows, money can be thrown down the drain, too. I don’t want to sponsor someone’s habit. So I look for ways to give in public that don’t involve money…maybe I’ve found the way…I carry these things with me nearly all the time…