“Silver and gold I have none,
but what I have I give you.”
Acts 3: 6
Entering the temple to pray, Peter and John encounter a beggar, crippled from his mother’s womb.
He looks at them hoping for some alms, but Peter gives him much more.
In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk.
Then Peter helps him up, grasping his right hand.
Get up and walk.
I cannot give you money to make life easier for you today, but I can give you the gift of living more fully, standing up. You are no longer a beggar. You are a human being.
And what does the man do?
He entered the temple with them, walking, leaping, and praising God.
I wonder if he did somersaults.
What are we called to do as missionary disciples?
I think Peter teaches us: Give people a hand so that they can stand up on their own and praise God with their lives?
A few cents in alms can change things for a few minutes or even a day – and, at times, we need to do that.
But I believe we must also offer the hand of accompanying the poor as they stand up and walk.
Is this not the work of the Church?
César Chávez, the founder of the Farm Workers Union, died on April 23, 1993. He once said
What do we want the Church to do? We don’t ask for more cathedrals. We don’t ask for bigger churches or fine gifts. We ask for its presence with us, beside us, as Christ among us. We ask the Church to sacrifice with the people for social change, for justice, and for love of brother. We don’t ask for words. We ask for deeds. We don’t ask for paternalism. We ask for servanthood.
Will we be servants, at the side of the poor?