The social media post read, “I paid for his lunch today. Feels good to make a difference, even if for a day!”—accompanied by a picture of a homeless man who was much more interested in finally eating than standing next to a social media influencer. At first glance, the picture is innocent and full of cheer of an action well done. On the flip side, the picture and post tilted on the hubris and the desire to be admired for an act of kindness.
Currently, we are groomed to believe that our actions must not go unnoticed. They must be displayed for others to emulate our good deeds and philosophy. And yes, we need everyday heroes that show us how to dignify the presence of others and to love—love fiercely—in an era that too often banks on our fears.
The Gospel of Luke invites us to reconsider our boastfulness; We are invited to be at the table of the Lord, break bread, and be humble in our actions seeking God’s unending love in the complete abandonment of serving others. In Los Angeles, where there are nearly 59,000 homeless people, we are called to radical action. The continued struggle of housing, mental health services, or preventing homelessness altogether is constant. Serving and loving our dear neighbor, our brothers and sisters on the margins, is an invitation to be present and walk with them in solidarity. Sometimes this may call for small sacrifices on our behalf, but it indicates that we are co-creators of a just world. This is how we can show God our love; not by fasting but by serving. Humbly offering our help by raising awareness, funds, serving at the food bank, and yes—posting the picture not to boast, but with an invitation to serve.
What invitation will you extend or respond to in order to show your love for God today?