By Bishop Kevin J. Farrell
Publisher of The Texas Catholic
The chill winds of November are upon us reminding everyone that the happy business of the Holiday Season is just around the corner. The warmth of the spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas makes the cold winter more endurable…for most of us.
Unfortunately there are many for whom the holidays bring only loneliness and bone-chilling cold. Instead of sitting in front of a welcoming fireplace, they huddle around a fire kindled in a garbage can. The homeless among us are invisible, except when one approaches our car at a traffic stop asking for a handout…. making us very uncomfortable and maybe a little scared. Most of us pretend we don’t see them and turn away.
For others, the holidays mean working two or three jobs to buy a few gifts for the children and manage a small tree to bring a bit of the spirit of Christmas into their lives. Jesus’ statement that the poor will always be with us (Matt. 26:11) was a lament not a prophesy. Jesus also judged harshly those who did not feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger or visit the imprisoned. (Matt 25).
I was shocked and saddened by the front page story in The Dallas Morning News on the number of homeless children in our country. It is shameful that in our time and place there can be 2.5 million homeless children. There are many reasons, but two primary causes are domestic violence and the lack of affordable housing, particularly for families with children. Affordable housing is being demolished to build new upscale condos and townhouses. Landlords are refusing to rent to families with children.
Our Holy Father Pope Francis is committed to clarifying Jesus’ Gospel of mercy and compassion. His words to us are not his message, but Jesus’ message. Reach out to the homeless, the poor and the lonely. Reach out to bring hope to the hopeless and to dispel the darkness that overwhelms so many with the light of love, compassion and mercy.
Give of yourself, give of your treasure, become a light in the darkness. There are many ways to help as a volunteer or by monetary assistance. Make your own holiday happier by giving of yourself or your treasure. If you do not know where to start, Catholic Charities Dallas offers many opportunities. Check out their website at www.catholiccharitiesdallas.org.
You will be blessed!
Bishop Kevin J. Farrell is the seventh bishop of Dallas. Read his blog at bishopkevinfarrell.org/blog.