17 November 2015

Luke 6

The Sermon on the Mount is really not a very comfortable thing to hear, if you keep reading past the beatitudes, is it? Woe to you who are filled, for you shall hunger... Woe to you who now laugh, for you shall mourn... This reading sounds a lot like Pope Francis' message of not just being comfortable where we are, rather reaching out to the poor and those that need our help.

Each November, our chiropractor encourages her patients to help those in need by offering a free adjustment to those who bring in a bag of nonperishable food to donate to the food bank. When I was there yesterday, they already had several tall stacks of boxes full of donated food!

Being comfortable. It seems to me that many, most, people aren't opposed to helping others, whether by donating money or food or other material goods or time/talent volunteering or whatnot: it's just that it's so easy to have it not even occur to us that there is anything we could or should be doing to help, if we're too comfortably ensconced in our own life, our own daily tasks and troubles. I was so grateful for the call from the receptionist, reminding me that I could donate food instead of paying for this month's visit. Oh, of course! Yes, definitely I want to donate food! That we're coming up on Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas... has been on my mind all the time lately, but it took that phone call to broaden my focus from what I'm doing for my family to include what our family can do for others.

And a part of me keeps trying to feel guilty over that fact, that I didn't think of giving to the food bank this month on my own, as it's colder and more people are looking to them for basics as well as holiday fare. But it doesn't matter, does it? "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." (Luke 6:36) God showed me that mercy first, giving me a reminder when I needed it to look beyond my own immediate concerns to see the needs of others. It's how I respond to that merciful reminder that matters.

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