A rash of synthetic drug overdoeses among St. Louis' homeless population has prompted the question of how to help those in need, and in particular, addressing the issue of panhandling, as reported in this issue of the St. Louis Review.
As we prepare for the birth of Christ, we're mindful of the plight of the Holy Family. The Scriptures share how Joseph and Mary, who was about to give birth, were without shelter. The Son of God came into this world homeless.
As we read in the Gospel of Luke (1:26-27), God chose for the mother of His son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, "a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary."
Mary "stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from Him. After a long period of waiting, the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established," the Vatican II document "Lumen Gentium" tells us.
The U.S. bishops' website doesn't hold back when addressing the topic of mercy.
"We say that God is compassionate, but we ignore the poor. We say that God loves us and has mercy on us, but we hold grudges against our friends. Our actions need to authentically reflect God's mercy."
Now that's a challenge, highlighted during the extraordinary jubilee celebration of the Year of Mercy, which closed Nov. 20.
The speeches by President-elect Donald Trump and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton the day after the Nov. 8 election are heartening and, we hope, heartfelt.
Both talked about the nation coming together to overcome divides that were evident during the election campaigns. Trump praised his opponent, saying that we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.