Sacred scripture teaches us that the prophet Isaiah was filled with God’s spirit when he proclaimed in the first reading of the Third Sunday of Advent that the Lord had sent him “… to bring glad tidings to the poor…” (Is. 61:1). It is that same spirit that keeps us mindful of the poor and suffering among us.
There are many things you can do during the Advent and Christmas seasons to assist efforts to bring glad tidings to the poor in your community. Where you can safely volunteer individually during this time of pandemic, as a family or as part of a group or parish, the possibilities for serving the poor do exist.
Consider following one or more of the seven suggestions below:
- Pray for the poor, and ask God to transform your own attitudes about those in need, realizing that all of us are poor in some way before God’s grace.
- Suggest that a petition be added to the Prayers of the Faithful asking that the members of the parish community open their hearts to the poor.
- Collect food items for our parish food pantry or one in our community.
- When it can be safely accomplished, volunteer to assist a pantry for a day of sorting, bagging or distributing.
- Participate, if only virtually, in the Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day events on December 20, sponsored by the National Health Care for the Homeless Council
- Make your own generous financial gift to an organization that serves the poor. Every dollar that is donated to our “Poor of the Parish” fund stays here to help the local people in need.
- Think about ways to use your professional skills in a volunteer capacity at your chosen anti-hunger organization. There are many programs, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) screening and application assistance centers, food banks, and other anti-hunger organizations, that can use your help to make sure that all eligible people have access to nutrition assistance and anti-hunger programs.
You will find joy in fulfilling these stewardships tasks just as the prophet Isaiah found his gladness, causing him to exclaim: “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul” (Is. 61:10).