|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just Feed One
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Imagine for a moment a person sitting in complete darkness in an unfamiliar room. What that person needs, and desperately seeks, is light, the light to know where they are and maybe to shine a way out of the darkness. What is not helpful is a lecture on the value of darkness and the value of light. It is not helpful to explain how valuable light could be in the midst of darkness or what the attributes or forms of different light are. All the person needs at this moment is light; they do not want to talk about it or understand it; they just want light so they can see.
Therein lies the danger for us as Christians. Sometimes we would rather talk about the good we should do; we would rather have a conversation about the different attributes for doing one good thing over another good thing. When in fact all people need in their time of troubles is help. If they are hungry, they want food; if they are homeless, they want a home. It is no more complicated than that.
Today’s first reading from the Prophet Isaiah speaks that simplicity to the core. He warns the Israelites that their future depends on how they act now. That whatever little they have they are called to share. And that will define who they will become in this new land they travel to. He tells them the simple thing is feed the hungry, give to those who are thirsty, give to those who are oppressed, reach out to those in need, and never turn your back on your own.
In the Gospel, we are called to be that light in the midst of the darkness. We are called to give light! Talking about it does not give light. The only thing that gives light is actually doing good for others.
We have been blessed with so many gifts, and I understand that often we do not feel so rich or so abundant or have lots of surplus, but neither did the Israelites; the Israelites were still in exile, and they didn’t have anything at all. They heard this same message that we hear today: reach out to the needy.
That is how we become light in the world. Our words will be empty without those works of charity. That is what we must do! And we must do it today! We must do it immediately because the Gospel calls us to action today!
Whatever way that we are called, that we feel we know we are called, today we act as Christ to others. As St. Theresa of Calcutta says, “If we cannot feed 100 people, then just feed one.” Just feed one. May we do that one act of kindness this week: one act of charity toward somebody, somewhere, in some place in the name of Christ.