Most of us in Canada probably drive to different places, hence our chance of meeting the poor, is rather infrequent. Without frequent encountering with the poor or the homeless persons makes it harder for us to understand the difficulties they encounter, the intense heat of the summer sun and biting coldness of the winter wind. How do they manage to survive? In fact some of them do die from heat or cold.

Years ago when my daughter was still seven or eight, the World Vision of Canada was showing the difficulties children in Africa were facing, lacking food and water, suffering from malnutrition and other illnesses. My daughter requested that I turn the TV off, and when I asked, “Why?” Her answer was, “It makes me sad and uncomfortable.” My response was, “Why don’t you do something about it?” “What can I do? I am only eight years old.” “How about not drinking any soft drinks unless it comes with a meal? Then I will take that dollar for the soft drink and donate it to World Vision. If you don’t drink any more soft drinks every day, then I will have $30 to donate to World Vision, which is enough to support a suffering child and his/her family.” That started our family support for the World Vision projects. I am happy to say that my daughter seldom, if ever, drinks any soft drinks even now 30 years later.

Sometimes after the noon mass at church, when I walk out of the church, there is a person standing at the church door asking for loose change. “May I have a dollar or two for a cup of coffee?” Nowadays a dollar or two cannot even get you a hamburger. Would it be nicer to invite him to go across the street where there is a hamburger chain store, and ask him to just order whatever he likes? That may be a better thing to do than to just give him a dollar or two. As I was writing this reflection, I asked myself if it is more charitable to ask permission to join him at the same table to have lunch together.

Lord God, heal my blinders so that I can see in the poor that they too are Your children, sons and daughters of God, my brothers and sisters in Christ. How minute is my scope of charity? In fact, is it charity if I still have preconceived ideas about the poor?