Last Saturday, service organization North Star Providers put on a formal, three-course dinner for 100 homeless people from Milwaukee for Lent. It was hosted at Marquette University High School and students waited on the guests. The event included a great food, beverages and live music.
I came across the following photo in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s photo album of the event and was moved by it. It shows some homeless men bowing in prayer before to meal. Most of us pray before our meals as a formality, not truly feeling awe-struck and grateful for the blessings on our plate in front of us. This beautiful image of the afflicted being comforted helps move me to be humbled and be thankful for the comforts I enjoy.
Often we (very much including me) are quick to dismiss the homeless because we can (or think we can) point to bad decisions that put them there, and we’re probably often right. But Jesus asks us to strive to look past our righteousness and serve those who are “least among us”. This doesn’t mean we should be played like a sucker by giving a beggar our cash outside of a liquor store saying he needs money for the bus–we know the drill when it comes to those folks–but it does mean we try to genuinely fight despair when we’re able to.
[Jesus said]: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Images by Mark Hoffman