Let me tell you about a woman who goes by the name of “Scooter.” She attends a local prayer meeting that I frequent. Scooter became estranged from her family decades ago and spent seven long years homeless and living on the streets.
By God’s grace, Scooter was able to get off the streets and start attending church around 2005. With the help of some friends, she found an apartment. Walking is hard for her, so friends from church helped her purchase a scooter to help her get around. Thus, her name!
In the eyes of the world, Scooter may not be impressive, but in the eyes of God, she is beautiful. She is beloved. And she is precious! I think that Scooter has one of the purest hearts of anyone I know. “God has been good to me!” she often says. She loves the Lord and she treasures God’s people. She is faithful in prayer, generous, and grateful to everyone who has helped her. She is a fantastic witness to the love of Christ.
“One of These Least of Mine.” This month, we want to understand how we can take on the heart of God when we meet someone in Scooter’s situation. Or to put it in another way, we want to understand the rich tradition of our Catholic social teaching.
I am delighted to have Deacon Greg Kandra as our guest author on this subject. Deacon Greg gives us an overview of Catholic social teaching and shows us the special love God has for everyone who suffers from any kind of injustice or violence. He also gives us suggestions for how we might embrace this teaching more fully. And finally, he introduces us to Fr. Josh Johnson, a priest in Louisiana whose former parish has become a model for living out Jesus’ call to reach out to “these least brothers” of his (Matthew 25:40).
As I read Deacon Greg’s articles and learned about Fr. Josh’s parish, I was reminded of the early Church. After being filled with the Holy Spirit, these first Christians began to share their lives with each other and to care for the poorest among them. They even shared their money and material goods! Some of those who were wealthier sold “their property and possessions” and divided them “among all according to each one’s need” (Acts 2:45). I like to think that they cared for all of the “Scooters” in their midst. May we all become just as generous, selfless, and caring!
“Lord, help us see with your eyes and experience your love for every person, rich or poor. Lead us to love the least among us just as much as you love them. May we all hear these words from your lips: ‘Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’ (Matthew 25:40).”
Jeff Smith, President