The statue of Welcoming Jesus is beautifully placed in front of the entrance to our church. The open arms of the Lord remind all of us that he truly welcomes us every time we enter the church. The statue also reminds us that this is how our parish must be: all of us must welcome everyone who comes here in the spirit of Christ. We are all truly blessed to have this image in front of our church.
But there is another image, just as important. In the parking lot, on a bench, is the image of Homeless Jesus. He is only recognizable by the nail wounds in his feet. The statue is realistic, and hopefully it catches our eye as we walk from the parking lot to the entrance of the church. Hopefully it reminds us that Christ identifies himself with the poor; what we do for them, we do for him.
The United States Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development has designated January as Poverty Awareness Month. We can’t let the month go by without reflecting on the fact that more than 37 million Americans live in poverty. What can we do to help? Here are a few ideas:
Pray for all who are poor, and pray for an end to poverty
Support the ministry of our parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society, which helps those in need
Support the great work of FAM (Family Assistance Ministries), which partners with our parish in helping families in need
Visit povertyusa.org to become informed about this important issue
Let’s make sure we recognize the Lord and respond to him in the poor and needy. We may not see wounded feet, but his image and likeness is still there. Let’s give him the love and honor he deserves.