Called to Compassion

September 27, 2019  •   Tracy Earl Welliver

Homeless person asleep on bench

What does a homeless person need? That may seem like an odd question since being homeless would indicate they certainly need a home. Beyond that though, what does a homeless person need? Most would guess the person needs food, money, clothing, medical care, and toiletries. Many parishes put together drives for those items. Is that all the person needs? It is easy to get caught up in all the things that easily come to mind so that we miss a key thing needed by someone homeless as well as all human beings: to be seen.

How many of us pass by homeless people and pretend they are not even there. We don’t have money in our pocket, we don’t have food to give, and we don’t have material items that they need, so we offer them nothing. We don’t even offer ourselves.

Welcoming someone with a kind word is free. Amazingly, we act like it costs us more than anything else. It is easier to hand someone $5 than it is to engage in a 15-second exchange of words. We talk about being generous, but we need to remember that sometimes the greatest gift we have to give is simply ourselves. The Jesus in me meets the Jesus in you. One day, you or I may find ourselves in a tough spot, and we will be looking for compassion. Let’s hope that all those who profess to know Jesus don’t simply pass on by pretending not to see us.

—Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

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