Monday, September 24, 2012

To whom is it due?

An all too familiar situation popped inside my head after the mass reading today.

Everyday in our lives, we see a lot of homeless people, beggars, street vendors, or their worse counterparts, muggers and snatchers.

But if there's anything they have in common, it would have to be this: they are all in need of love.

And love, being the multiplex of all understanding and definition, is the great cure for all of this, as Mother Teresa has put it.

Everyday, I commute to work. I do not have specific statistics but allow me to say that 75% of my jeepney rides to work is accompanied by the experience of a child with an envelope going up the jeepney and asking for alms.

When I take the MRT (train), I am welcomed by even more beggars with different versions of asking for alms. Some have babies with them, some have placards, some have medical prescriptions, some have cans or cups, some with physical defects and some singing with a guitar or going solo.

As I walk the street to where I work, there they are again. The crippled, the abandoned, the orphaned, the homeless and the elderly.

Heartbreaking. Truly, if I had all the money of the world, maybe I can help them. But all I can do is spare the change in my pocket. Plus, I cannot save all the problems in the world, let alone, the route I pass by every day.

I remember some family members refuse to give alms to them and would frequently say: "where are their parents?", " Don't give to them because they are making it a business", "this woman is stationed here everyday", "same old tactics", "why don't they work?", "complete sign of laziness","I don't think she/he is really sick", "they should make their lives happen" or "they depend their lives in the mercy of others".

I understand, of course, that every single one of us earns every cent by working hard and mostly on an 8 hour shift daily, that it why it is so hard to let go of that spare money. For us, pamasahe narin yan (it could be spent for the commute fare).

What I don't understand most is why some people find it easy to help those who they are familiar with, rather than the people who are anonymously asking for help (kudos to those who are helping non- selectively).

Well as I have read it today,

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
   when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
   “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
   when you already have it with you.

While we do not really know "to whom it is due", we really are in no position to judge a deserving person from an undeserving person by our own standards. Because as far as the book of life has stated, we are all imperfect. We are also instructed to give the benefit of the doubt to our neighbors, because after all, we cannot pretend to know their situations, because we really do not know anything at all.

If we cannot help them by giving money, perhaps you can create a better way to help them? Instead of ignoring their needs, there's probably a better way to help get the people off the street and help them make a living out of their lives.

If you are reading this right now, take time to relish everything you have. You may be blessed enough to afford your needs plus your wants, no matter how luxurious. Most of the time, people do not appreciate the value of everything that has been given to them until it is taken away.

Thank God you have not been in the bottom of the barrel. If you have experienced it, perhaps He has lifted you up already, if you are experiencing it now, perhaps there is something to be learned from your bankruptcy. We are always where we are supposed to be. God always places us in a position where we will yearn for Him because once we get too comfortable, we often lose our sight of Him.

He knows. He always knows. God is always aware.

Instead of judging the misfortune of others and what caused it, perhaps we can just say a short prayer for them and thank God for the blessing of being able to help them and having the means.
After all, everything you have, all the means you have, came from God and will be used for His purpose.

Everybody is due some good, if not all good. Just as you think you deserve some slack or break, so others must also feel the same way. Remember that no matter how close you are to a person, you can never have the slightest idea of how they feel or what they have been though in their life. And we must always respect that. You cannot really set a measure to how much generosity and charity is expected from you, because as the bible says,

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Lk 12:48)
Start to live a giving life, giving need not always be in material possessions, but it may also be in spiritual support, time and love. You may be someone's life saver just by being generous enough.   Just think of everybody else who has saved your life by being so generous to you. It would be nice to pay it forward.

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