In this series, based on the book provided during Easter called Beautiful Mercy, we looked last week at the corporal work of harboring the homeless. This week, I want to focus on feeding the hungry. Again, I want to mention that everyone who pitches in to donate to the Marshfield food pantry each week directly feeds the hungry! Let us continue this great work for the community.

Just like bringing a can of food or vegetables to Mass, the corporal work of feeding the hungry is a great opportunity to put mercy into action. A couple of weeks ago, we had representatives from NPH visit and many were blessed to hear Ismar’s story from living on the streets, to becoming part of a family. One part of his story struck me the most: at one point he ran away for home and for years lived on the streets. During this period, he was assisting and begging others just to be fed for his next meal. Ismar lived meal to meal, and each day brought the question:

how will I survive today?

Although that might seem foreign to many of us, I know there are still many families who are living paycheck to paycheck, and don’t know where the next meal might come from. From this reflection in Beautiful Mercy, Fr. Gaitley brings up how even such a small action of making a dinner, can go a long way for a family in need. Everyone needs to eat, and I think this is one unspoken, but profound way to help a family in crisis.

Fr. Gaitley also shares a story about a Marian Father named Fr Leszek. He served in Rwanda, Africa after the genocide in 1994. After support from the community, and a $100,000 donation from the Green Bay Packers, he didn’t settle for buying bread for a town in Rwanda. Instead Fr. Leszek and the Marian Fathers built a bakery and trained the people how to use it. Now the children in the town have bread not just once a year, but everyday.

I loved this story! I think this is a great way to put the corporal works of mercy into action, but in a way that helps others do the same. Every person has a physical hunger. The real question is: how can I, through my time and talent, either take part in feeding the hungry or educate those around me on social hunger issues? Even by just providing a meal to a family in distress can be a small act of mercy that goes a long way.