Curbside Mercy

Curbside Mercy: An 89-Year-Old’s Lenten Practice

by Maggie Lane

Matthew 25:31-46 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Final Judgment

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

“My mother is 89 and still drives, a blessing. Her driving radius in suburban Maryland is only about five miles. She drives to Mass, to the grocery store, the library, the bank, the hairdresser, bridge games, the occasional Knights of Columbus party or neighborhood luncheon, the gas station.

Mary Hathway, 89, found a simple way to practice
Pope Francis’s call to be “islands of mercy.”

For these outings she has equipped her little Hyundai with all the necessities: a handicapped parking sticker, an umbrella, recyclable bags for the grocery store, a lawn chair for grandkids’ soccer games, a magnetic cross on her glove compartment for safe driving, and for the past two years, a single dollar bill in her cup holder.

I was thinking about that dollar bill recently when Pope Francis asked that for Lent we fast from indifference. And then again when he said in an address to the elderly, “Old age, in particular, is a time of grace, in which the Lord will renew His call: He calls us to preserve and transmit the faith, calls us to pray, especially to intercede; calls us to be close to those who may be in need.” [italics mine]

My mother’s dollar bills puts the Pope’s words in action. For the past two years she gives them to panhandlers who flash their cardboard signs and coffee cans on busy intersections.”

I have a friend who every time he dines at a restaurant  orders hash browns, which he does not eat. He orders them for the purpose of taking them out to give to a homeless individual.

I know a lady who is 92 years old, and she who donates $25.00 a month for socks, and always says, “I know you can not do much with this  but it is all that  I have,” and over the year she pays for a thousand pairs of socks.

It is the small things that we do, that adds up.  We measure our worth in our dedication to our path, not our successes or failures, our faith grows through our small actions. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.,  D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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