Advent Week 3 Dec 18 2013
Read Matthew 25:40-45
How I want to avoid the nobodies I see! I feel very much like Scrooge when I pass the unkempt beggars on my way to and from work in Boston: “Are there no shelters? No mental hospitals? No work programs?” my Scrooge-like mind wonders. There are not as many programs as there used to be — but I know that back of my thought is not only pity or compassion but also — and perhaps mainly — a desire not to see these nobodies, a desire not to really know about them:
- There is the man who looks big and strong and able-bodied who used to call out, in his booming Boston-accent, “Spare change for an unemployed cahpentah?” He was not around for several months. Was he working? In detox? On a binge? Why is he down and out? More importantly, why does that matter to me? Now he is back and his cry is “Spare change for the homeless?”
- There is the young woman with the small, worn duffel bag, who stands in the subway with her head bent at a 90-degree angle, looking only at the floor, and holding a sign, “Homeless — please help.” She, too, is back after several months. Was she living under a bridge somewhere? What was she doing? Why won’t she look at anyone? She reminds me of the stereotype of a child caught in wrong-doing whose parent or teacher towers over him and yells, “LOOK at me when I’m talking to you!” What is the source of her shame? Would I meet her eyes and see her pain if she did dare to look up?
Meditation: I don’t know how to help them! But Matthew 25 clearly shows that God’s judgment is based on whether or not I give, and serve, and work for justice — not out of guilt, but out of love for other nobodies who are so much like me — other nobodies whom God refers to as “members of my family.”