This is Fr. Ron Raab, host of On the Margins, with a Moment of Mercy:
The Corporal Work of Mercy: To welcome the stranger or to shelter the homeless
Hospitality is an act of mercy. Hospitality is a radical acceptance of another person. Welcoming the stranger is an act of mutual respect, an interaction of hope. The Holy Family searched for a shelter at Jesus’ birth. Every person deserves to be sheltered, protected from the cold and given a place to rest and to be physically and emotionally restored.
I hear people judge homeless people harshly every day. People lash out about why others simply just do not have a job. Some people question why our society should support such people.
My experience teaches me that people are homeless because of the trauma they have faced in life. Veterans suffering from the effects of war wander our streets. Youth beaten down by parents and siblings try to make their way to a better life. People who suffer from years of mental illness or drug addiction simply do not have the emotional stability to keep a job or find a home. Some people, who have been traumatized by sexual violence and abuse as children, may never outgrow their depression and rage and they may never be capable to survive on the streets on their own.
Hospitality creates relationships when we welcome a stranger into our midst to be warmed by connection and respect. Mercy does not judge people or condemn them. Mercy changes our attitudes when we bring the gospel alive by supporting the basic needs and rights of people.
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Please know of my pray for you in this Year of Mercy.