How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless

On Good Friday my husband took the route home from church that leads us through downtown St. Paul, a route that is always leisurely on a Sunday morning. The reality of a world oblivious to the Triduum hit us as we encountered the busy Friday afternoon traffic. Then we saw him — a homeless man up ahead at the next traffic light. Liturgically, Christ had just died on the cross and was descending into hell, but in our current moment he was standing before us in the person of the homeless man.

“As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).

I turned around and asked my daughter if we had any “blessing bags” left. A blessing bag is a collection of simple necessities we keep in our car to hand out to the homeless we encounter at street corners. We were out of blessing bags but had a box of granola bars. My husband rolled down the window and the man came over to us.

“I’m Josh! What are your names?” he asked cheerily. We told him our names and my husband offered Josh the food. He was delighted, and then he looked into the back of our van and saw the children.

“What a beautiful family!” he gushed. Then he addressed them, “You kids grow up helping people, okay?”

Lent is over now, and so is the Church’s focus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving, but as Jesus said a few days before his death, “The poor you will always have with you, but you do not always have me” (John 12:8). The poor still need the generosity of those who have more — and we, in fact, need them.

Read the rest at the National Catholic Register.