Handouts and charity

Had an interesting thing happen this morning. I was walking into work when I was approached by someone looking for money. I normally don't give handouts, however, for some reason I listened to this person. He gave me the story of being a diabetic and being out of insulin. He said he was from Syracuse and was stuck. He was willing to give me his driver's license as colateral and promised to pay me back. I ended up giving him $10 and not taking the license.

You may think I'm crazy or a sucker. Bottom line is that I'm normally a skeptical person. However, something about this guy touched me. Thinking about it I made the decision that you know what, it's only $10. I'm not so broke that I can't afford it. I'd easily spend it on myself and not even think about it. However, the Jesus tells us that when we look after the least of those around us, we're looking after Him. I've got a feeling that I will be repaid for this act of charity, but perhaps not in the way I think. My wife had a good take, and I quote, "Sometimes when your brain is being skeptical, your heart wants to be charitable. I think the best thing to do is to say a prayer that this gentleman uses the money for what he truly needs, whatever that may be." She's a smart lady.

How often do we walk by those in need? Whether they are the homeless, someone crying at the side of the road, someone selling flowers in the road for food. I've seen all of these but usually just walked on by. Is this really the Christian thing to do? Can I call myself a good Catholic? Sure, I give every week at church and they use the money for many charitable causes. I buy gifts for our giving tree at Christmas, make food baskets with the Cub Scouts, but this is always impersonal. Sure, it helps those less fortunate, but again, it's not like walking up to someone and helping them out.

In any event, I'm curious to see how this plays out. I told the person if they wish to repay me, leave the money with our receptioninst. I'm not counting on it, but it would be a refreshing change if it showed up. In the mean time I'll reflect on the moral issue of charity/love thy neighbor.


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