Year of Mercy – Feed the Hungry

OPENING PRAYER

O God, you have provided food for all living things and showed us in Christ how to care for the world. May everyone trust in you, who feeds even the birds of the air. Amen.

READ LUKE 9:11-17

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 42

R./ Give thanks to the LORD for he is good,

his mercy endures forever! Let that be the prayer of the LORD’s redeemed, those redeemed from the hand of the foe, Those gathered from foreign lands, from east and west, from north and south. R./

Some had lost their way in a barren desert; found no path toward a city to live in. They were hungry and thirsty; their life was ebbing away. R./

In their distress they cried to the LORD, who rescued them in their peril, Guided them by a direct path so they reached a city to live in. R./

Let them thank the LORD for his mercy, such wondrous deeds for the children of Adam. For he satisfied the thirsty, filled the hungry with good things.

INTERCESSIONS

For the Church, that Christians may never dismiss the hungry but feed them as Jesus says, we pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

For the governments of the world, that they enact laws and provide services to see that everyone has adequate nutrition, we pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

For the hungry, that they may feel God’s love through the generosity of their neighbors, we pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

For the sick, that they may receive the healing that they need, we pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

For the dead, that they be raised to heaven, we pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

Our Father…

CLOSING PRAYER

Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Jubilee Year of Mercy (excerpt)

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.

You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.

We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God for ever and ever. Amen.

REFLECTION BY DIXIE SHAW

Catholic Charities Maine

We have been working for weeks on our Farm for Maine project, trying to get our four acres of rutabagas and beets thinned out to ensure they have proper spacing to grow. It has been a battle against time and weeds that I thought was going to take me and the crop down.

We never gave up and with the help of some of our crew, some of our regular volunteers and some new friends, we are winning! We are down to our last few rows to thin and once we moved from rutabaga thinning to beet thinning we were able to transition into harvesting since the beet greens and the baby beets are some of the finest eating one can find in the early days of harvest. It also makes it a bit easier to get folks to buy into the effort when it involves harvesting opposed to weeding or thinning.

We discovered that the best way to get the beet greens and beets to stay fresh for a few days was to dampen them, pack them in potato bags, and store them in coolers. With a little good ole County Ingenuity our maintenance man, Shane, designed a near perfect racking system for us from an upside down twin bed with some added chicken wire. This invention allowed us to sort the greens, spray them with water and pack them in convenient family size potato bags for distribution. Did I mention that the potato bags were donated last spring by a local bag company?

After the beets were packed, and we all headed to our respective homes, I remembered that a little lady from a senior living center in Presque Isle had asked if she could get some beet greens for herself and other seniors at her complex. I turned around, got two cases of the bagged up beet greens from the cooler, and delivered them to her building. She came out to see what I had and immediately started knocking on doors to tell the residents what was in the hall. The greens were going like hot cakes when I noticed one woman in particular who reached out her arms and was passed a bag of the greens, with the crisp and vibrant leaves peeking out. She received it like she was Miss America receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers, put her nose in it to smell it, and caressed the beautiful leaves with a huge smile on her face. I said “they have dirt on them and must be cleaned” and she said “I am a farm girl, I love the smell of the fresh dirt and I am going to put these in my sink right away and prepare them right now.”

So as I think of these events I think; Who are our clients? Who are we helping? Our program mission is to feed the hungry. I think we are feeding more than bellies.

SPIRITUAL WORK OF MERCY

To “Console the Doubtful” means to help someone who is uncertain about a decision to reach a conclusion in harmony with his or her ultimate end, which is eternity with God.

“…everyone hopes to find Christ sitting in heaven; but look, he is lying in the portal, see him in the hungry, in the one who is cold, in the one who has nothing, in the foreigner.” –St. Augustine