and let it begin with me

Columnist Ann Landers was once asked “What question are you asked the most?” to which she replied “What is the matter with me? Why am I so lonely?” When asked for her response, she said “I tell them to get involved, do something for other people. The people who need help are all about you. Everywhere you look, you see them.” Sage advice for us all, whether we are lonely or not. After all, isn’t that what Jesus would tell us to do?

Open your eyes and look around and you will find virtually unlimited opportunities to help. The problem isn’t a paucity of poverty but a hardness of heart. We only see what we wish to see, the rest we ignore, wishing it would disappear. It is the age-old question “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is near, does it make a sound?”

For over 120 years the Salvation Army has placed red kettles and bell ringers at the entrances to many stores and malls around the world. Money collected is used to help the needy, the sick, the aged and other less fortunate, especially around Christmas.

The Colorado Springs city council recently passed an ordinance prohibiting solicitation of any type in the downtown area. While the ordinance was designed to reduce panhandling and rid the area of bums and derelicts, it has had a direct and immediate impact on the Salvation Army’s annual red kettle drive by banning their presence in the downtown area. Bah! Humbug! Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well, with a seat on the city council.

Thankfully, in order to circumvent the ordinance, a few private property owners have given the Salvation Army permission to place their kettles and bell ringers on non-public lands.

At almost the same time, in New York City, a barefoot homeless man was sitting on the cold concrete sidewalk with a tin can begging. Even though the temperature was near freezing no one saw fit to offer assistance. People were walking by, a few dropping coins in his can, others visibly ignoring his presence, still others laughing and poking fun at the shoeless beggar’s plight. The Grinch must be at it again in New York City.

A young NYPD policeman saw the man and after determining his shoe size, bought the best pair of boots available and thermal socks at a nearby store and helped the man put them on. He spent over $100 of his own money for a stranger.

As we approach Christmas look around, and do something for someone in need. See Christ in all those around you and let your heart sing “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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