Written by Andy Aguirre

I would like to share with you an experience I had a couple days ago. I stop at gas station and as soon as I started to pump gas a homeless man approach me and ask for spare change. I said sorry I don’t have change. I could have easily gone inside the food mart and bought him some food, but I didn’t. When I exited the freeway there was a man with a sign that read: “I am Hungry – Please help”. I could have easily given him my tuna sandwich, but I didn’t. It was inconvenient for me, to give up my money and my lunch. Later that same day my conscience got to me and I realize what I was doing was selfish and wrong and I remembered what Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew:

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”
— Matthew 25:35-36

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus teaches us a beautiful message:  when we do acts of mercy to the poor, overlooked or ignored, we do it for Jesus. He also tells us another strong message, “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.” Unfortunately we don't live in perfect world; there are a lot of families are living in poverty. Children who don't have shoes to go to school, new born baby's don't have milk to drink, teenagers hanging out at a 24 hour Denny's because they don't have anywhere to stay, adults sleeping in hospital emergency lobbies because they don't have a placed to call home. These are a few examples of individuals of who had a run of bad luck and living in situations that are out of their control. I don't see these people on CNN, I see them in the San Fernando Valley. Jesus wants us to show them Mercy, to Love them, to treat them with dignity. It's really easy; all we have to do is treat them as we would treat Jesus.

“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.  When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.  Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!”
— Romans 12:12-16

At the age of 17, I was consider an alcoholic, I lost the trust of my parents, but I did not lose their love, they showed me Mercy, they gave me a roof over my head, but that is all I had. I had no money in pocket, no money for new clothes, hair cut and no money for food. I was hungry and nobody was there. I was hoping for somebody to express Jesus love to me, unfortunately I did not get that gift.  I share with you this story, not because I want you to feel sorry for me. I share this story with you, because a small act of kindness will go a long way and it will have a strong affect on the person that you share your gift. Jesus did not send the rich people to serve the poor. He sends us, his disciples. 

Loving God, Creator of our one human family, help us always remember to show Christ's love to our brothers and sisters around the world, especially those who face poverty, illness and war every day. Amen.

Check out these websites and please consider supporting them:
The ROCK Association
Catholic Relief Services

Andy Aguirre

Attended first retreat in November 2010. A regular guy proclaiming the Word of God, he is known in the community as "Andy the Catholic" and serves on the RCIA and Adult Confirmation team Santa Rosa de Lima Catholic Church in San Fernando, CA.