To Give or Not to Give

Last week I went out back to sit under “the tree in the middle” for a little while before evening prayer and dinner and a game of cribbage. I had my bible with me and intended to read the Sermon on the Mount, especially the verses about giving to the borrower and not asking for anything in return.

Those words brought back the memory of what happened to me at the Samaritan House ten years ago. I had almost forgot.

One of our homeless ladies staying with us came by and asked if I could give her some money, thirty dollars. Now I had that much in my office, but I needed to check with her case manager and see if it was alright to give her the money, because her case manager knew her situation better than I did.

The lady said she needed it tomorrow. I put the money in an envelope and gave it to her in the morning. Her case manager said it was alright.

That evening she checked out of the shelter. We had no idea where she went. We just wanted her to be safe.

The next week when I was walking across our parking lot to the main building, along comes this big, dark limo. She was in the back seat. The driver stopped the limo, she rolled down the window, handed me an envelope, thanked me, and the car headed down Larimer Street.

There was five hundred dollars in the envelope. I remember telling her she didn’t have to do that, but she insisted.

I’m convinced that our homeless men, women and children are not only sent to us by God, but I believe some of them are angelic beings in disguise. They test our willingness to help strangers, the homeless. They test us to see if we will be as generous as we should be.

I just ask God to forgive me for all those times I wasn’t as kind and giving as I should have been.

Under “the tree in the middle” I read what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.

(Backyard Galaxy is a weekly series featuring reflections from Fr. Michael Suchnicki dealing with God, thoughts from the friary backyard and on our Milky Way Galaxy.)