To begin, let’s see this week’s question and video of Kerry Weber, author of Mercy in the City:
Kerry talks about her preconceptions of “the hungry”—that they would be either the face of Jesus (happy, grateful) or the opposite (grasping, cranky). She learned quickly that people in a food line are just people, dealing with a whole range of emotions from one day to the next.
When she manned the water table at the city’s half marathon, Kerry was instructed not to thrust water at the runners but to move the cups to within easy reach. And she saw the spiritual parallel: we can’t force people to drink, because it’s their decision. Yet all of us are on that long run, and all of us eventually become thirsty.
- When we think about people who are in need, such as those who wait in a breadline, what assumptions are we tempted to make? What stereotypes are we tempted to accept?
- What makes us resistant to getting involved in programs or events that focus on people who are in need?
- What is attractive about getting involved in such programs?
Kerry’s experience was, at least at the time, short-term because it was part of a Lenten experiment. She’s a young adult living in New York City. She was brought up Catholic and continues to be active in the faith community. These factors had an impact on how the experience went for her. But our abilities and our opportunities to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty might be quite different from Kerry’s—which is why each person needs to reflect on his or her own situation and ask, What might I do?
We will explore various ideas about this in Wednesday’s post.