WHATEVER YOU DID FOR ONE OF THESE LEAST BROTHERS OF MINE, YOU DID FOR ME.
Every single day, we read, we see, and we feel the needs of the marginalized of our society. We encounter the poor, the homeless, and people begging for money in the streets and store corners asking us for help.
You might already have your own set way on how to deal with people who beg. You either ignore them, look away to avoid eye contact, and move on. Or, you might give some coins, a dollar, or just walk away.
The NY Times editorial of March 3, 2017 talks about an interview of Pope Francis with a Milan magazine where he gives concrete advise on dealing with panhandlers says that giving something to someone who is in need is “always right”. “Give them the money and do not worry about it.”
Pope Francis went further saying that the way of giving is as important as the gift. He says that we should not only drop the money into a cup and walk away. We must stop, look the person in the eyes, and even go to the extent of touching his or her hands. He says that the reason for this is to preserve the person’s dignity; to see another person, as a human being with a life whose value is equal to our own.
Jesus in Matthew 25 says it very clearly: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me… Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
We are called to love everyone we meet, even if this love is not always a warm fuzzy feeling!