Welcome to our very first in the series, Mercy Monday. In case you’re wondering what this is about, check the first post Works of Mercy.
We’re going to focus on studying one work of mercy for the whole month. We’ll also take a quick look ahead at what I’ll be doing all month to live out a life of mercy. I’d love for you to join in from home.
Feed the hungry
Leading off the corporal works of mercy is the most basic necessity of life: food. Ever since our ancestors rejected Paradise, mankind has struggled to feed itself.
Adam, Cain, and every farmer since have labored to eke out sustenance (Gen. 3:17). Present technological advancements have elevated agricultural yields, but systemic corruption and lack of access mean 795 Million people today are malnourished (CRS).
Jesus did not say “Feed those you deem worthy.” He said to feed the hungry (Matthew 25:35). It isn’t merciful to give someone what they are due. That’s not giving at all! When the item is rightfully theirs, remitting it to them is called justice.
Works of mercy go beyond justice. They are a challenge from God to radical generosity. Give what is rightfully yours to someone in need. Without asking if it’s their due. Without asking what they have done to deserve it.
Seeing a need, and moving the will to fill the need. Become instruments of God’s mercy, and you will see what Jesus said about the least of his is true. The love you give to the needy, is received by God Almighty (Matthew 25:40).
How to help the world
Food security is a global problem. Oppressive systems cut off farm laborers from their share of profits. People in the developing world suffer from their governments’ ineffective management of natural resources. It’s disheartening.
There is enough food currently produced. American charitable giving is at an all-time high (Giving USA). We can do this by focusing our donations of time, money, and prayer towards effective international non-governmental organizations.
“Caritas addresses today’s food problems by working on the root causes of hunger and food scarcity. It promotes investment in agricultural and rural development. Part of the solution is also ensuring that communities are made less vulnerable to the more frequent extreme weather brought by climate change. Read more about these efforts here.”
How to help your community
Many Americans struggle with lack of access. They live in food deserts: inner-city areas, where the only groceries available are whatever processed snacks the corner bodega keeps in stock. Elderly and handicapped people cannot make it stores regularly. 15% of Americans also live in poverty, which further restricts their access to adequate nutrition (Catholic Charities USA)
Some organizations in your area may include:
- Food pantries
- Soup kitchens
- Delivering meals to the homebound
- Packing weekend backpacks for schoolchildren
- Community initiatives teaching healthy shopping & cooking
How to bring the problem home
Even in the years when many little blessings keep you at home, you can still serve humanity. If Americans change our patterns of overconsumption and waste, we can share our bounty with those in need.
- Reduce kitchen waste
- Donate unused items before they expire
- Reduce overconsumption
- Fast and donate the difference
What are some things you do to serve the hungry in your community, or conserve food use in your home? Let me know below!
Thanks for this post. I don’t spend enough time thinking and praying about the works of mercy. I give money to Catholic Charities but I think I need to spend some time thinking about how I can make it more personal for me.