Some of the less charitable news stories emphasize Jeffrey Hillman, the homeless man who Office Lawrence DePrimo bought boots for, wanting “a piece of” the notoriety the shoe-buying incident has brought the officer. But you can appreciate the man is in an awkward spot, in this media culture we live in. And the whole incident is just, again, a reminder not just that looking away doesn’t cut it in the Christian life but neither does praising or feeling good about a one-off act of charity. The story of this officer and homeless gentleman challenge us all to live lives of service. Walking with those who are in need. Walking with our neighbor, whomever he is. Including if he lives on the streets of Manhattan.
Or what Archbishop Chaput recently said.
Pope Benedict pointed to a model this weekend:
The Virgin Mary perfectly embodies the spirit of Advent, which consists of listening to God, a profound desire to do His will, and joyful service to others. Let us be guided by her, so that God who is coming may not find us closed or distracted, but might extend to each of us a small part of His kingdom of love, of justice, and of peace.
it is important to remember that practical actions are never enough; charity must express a genuine love for people, a love animated by a personal encounter with Christ. “In carrying out their charitable works, therefore, the Catholic organisations should not limit themselves merely to collecting and distributing funds, but should show special concern for individuals in need and exercise a valuable educational function within the Christian community, helping people to appreciate the importance of sharing, respect and love in the spirit of the Gospel of Christ.”