One morning I went to celebrate Mass, and one of the parishioners came in the sacristy to help set up. In our general conversations, as people would have, I asked him “where do you live?” Interesting he danced around the question. So I asked him again, "where do you live?" He looked at me with a tear in his eyes and said, "I do not have a home." I was heartbroken. This man has crossed my path several times and I didn’t care enough to know anything about him. Sometimes, I had scolded him for the things he didn’t get right and would even try to ignore him when I saw him but I never paid enough attention to, or sought to understand, the deeper experiences that formed him. Perhaps, that would have given me a window into the unique challenges that influenced his actions.
After Mass I went back to the rectory, settled at my desk, and thought about the hardship that many people around us go through.I began to reflect, what can I do? And so I prayed for the strength to respond to the needs of others courageously. Then the the words of Mahatma Gandhi came to me, to “live simply so that others may simply live”.
How often we roll up our windows when beggars approach our cars, or steer in a different direction when we see someone suffering from drug addiction. On few occasions when we try to help, we throw money at them without looking into their faces.
The world needs more love, more understanding, more generosity. The world needs more people to genuinely ask “How are you?”. The world needs more people to look into the faces of the poor and the beggars and remind them with a smile that they are human. The world needs more light. In this season as we approach Advent and Christmas, may each of us be that light.