Caring for others:
We are at a time in our lives when we must look beyond our own interests and look to the welfare of others. Jesus is a part of us, coming in the form of the poor, the sick, the disables, the rejected. It is only there that we confront him. He was and remains always on the side of those rejected by the Pharisees (think the rich and powerful).
We are faced with overwhelming deprivation in the United States; this should be a call to act in favor of those on the bottom rungs of society. WE have to act now to reduce the fate of those living in poverty. The Spirit of Truth (think God) draws us toward a much-needed greater empathy of our neighbors’ conditions, much needed is the training our minds and hearts to utilize the tools afforded to us, both on the government and non-government levels.
Reading about ALICE, (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), my eyes were opened to the realities of trying to live in communities, such as Fredericksburg, but also all around the United States. Over half the jobs in the Fredericksburg area, requiring a high school diploma pay less than $20.00 per hour (a total of $800.00 per week, or $40,000 per year). Yet, when looking at living expenses in the area, the minimum income required for a family of four to live above poverty is over $60.000 per year (or $25.00 per hour). Making less than $25.00 per hour forces the family to eliminate one or more necessities. It is no wonder that there are so many homeless students in our area schools. Jesus opened the door to God’s Love to all people, not just the Pharisees.
The number of people who shop at The Table at St. George’s and who make livable (?) wages is surprising; but reading about the cost of living compared to the average income, it is no wonder that our needs for greater funding to keep The Table a worthy force against malnutrition continues to grow. The Table allows people to shop every week. Although I commend other food sources and their abilities and desires to assist our ALICE neighbors, I do question how some can restrict a household to shop only once every six months. Somehow, this does not acknowledge the words of Jesus when he said that what we do to the poor, we do to him.
We need to pray our existences, acknowledging the dignity of our own life and the dignity of others. We need prayer to discern how to factor this gift delegated to each of us by Jesus; we need a path bringing us back to live in a world filled with God’s undying love for all his children, particularly those in need. We must do this, not for ourselves, but to honor the lives of all God’s children.