Living the Works of Mercy
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus describes the judgment that He will give when He comes in Glory (Matthew 35: 31-46). According to Jesus, He will separate the good from the evil as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Those who lived the “Corporal Works of Mercy” will be welcomed into the Heavenly Kingdom, while those who did not live the “Corporal Works of Mercy” will be placed into eternal fire.
What are the Corporal Works of Mercy? They are acts of mercy that we show to those in need. Every person we meet is a child of God. Therefore, when we help one another, we are truly helping the Lord.
Corporal Works of Mercy:
- Feed the Hungry
- Give Drink to the Thirsty
- Shelter the Homeless
- Clothe the Naked
- Care for the Sick
- Help the Imprisoned
- Bury the Dead
As a family, try to live the Corporal Works of Mercy. When you go grocery shopping, don’t forget to pick up an extra can of green beans, a jar of spaghetti sauce, or some peanut butter for the Saint Vincent DePaul Food Pantry at church. If your children are given allowance, teach them to take a bit of their money and buy something, possibly monthly, for the poor. A can of green beans, peas, or corn are very inexpensive. Your child can purchase a can for about 50 cents. Make a big deal about how he or she fed some very hungry people out of pure generosity.
Remember to donate clothing that is good, but too small for your children to local charities such as “Good Will” or “Purple Heart”. Involve your children in this process. Keep in mind that there may be families in our own parish church who could use the clothing that your children have out grown. We have some families with six to nine children who would be very grateful.
In the back of the church is a baby basket. This is for donations of items for expectant mothers who have little or no money. This is a great charity to become involved in.
As your family gets older you can all become involved in “Habitat for Humanity” if you like. They build homes for families in need and are always looking for help. It is a great experience for your children to understand that they are building a home for a needy family.
The Downtown Rescue Mission serves meals in Huntsville. It is a good idea to volunteer to help out there once in a while. This can help your children to see just how fortunate they are.
The Kairos Ministry is a prison ministry that Holy Spirit Church is involved in. Kairos goes into the prison and prays with the prisoners and teaches them about the love of Jesus. People of our parish volunteer to go on these mission trips to the prisons. Although children are not allowed to go into the prisons, parishioners do bake cookies and brownies for the prisoners. This is a great way to involve your children in caring for the imprisoned without actually taking them to the prison. They can help bake brownies and cookies and know that they are going to men who are in prison. In their small way, they helped to brighten the life of an inmate.
From time to time we see people on the street with signs that say “I will work for food”. Sometimes we may be walking down the street and people ask us for a bit of money for food. One thing families can do is to buy coupon books from local fast food chains to give out to people who are hungry. Just keeping a coupon book in your car or purse for such an occasion sends a very clear message to your children that you care about those who are less fortunate than you. What a great lesson to teach. Example is always the best teacher.