Following up on yesterday’s Gospel and sermon, I share with you this video from Steve Earle’s fine album The Low Highway.
The plight of the poor and those experiencing homelessness is often hidden from our view or willfully unseen by those who are troubled by their presence around us. The fact of the matter is that we should all be troubled by their presence. It doesn’t need to be this way. The level of discomfort that we feel when confronted with panhandlers or those suffering publically from addiction and alcoholism naturally rises. It is hard to be with those who suffer, especially when we cannot fix their suffering, despite our best intentions.
Again, the first step to empathy and compassion is the willingness to see the plight of those who are easy to overlook. Their suffering is not ours to fix. What we can do is remind those around us who suffer, from whatever challenges, is remind them they are not alone.
Take a risk and acknowledge and greet those who challenge your comfort. Remember it has been said that the Gospel is intended to “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Seek comfort in the kindness of strangers and offer comfort in the name of God and you will leave this world better than you found it.