“The Lord hears the cry of the poor, blessed be the poor.”
I heard this antiphon at mass recently and it continued to resonate throughout the following week. If we are his hands how are we hearing the cry of the poor?
It occurred to me that if we were really determined to model for students what that means we might consider using our schools and school halls to be a place where people could come instead of sleeping in cars. Children on a warm mattress, in a warm room after being fed with dinner and breakfast from the school community; we could provide a sense of security for those children and parents who would otherwise have slept in a car overnight. The room would have been set up by students at the end of the day and disestablished by the same students before school started the next morning. Extra work but such a great sense of mission and outreach. Students from our Colleges would have helped with child care after school finished so that the parent could attend to washing or homework with children. During the evening the families would read and talk and play board games before finishing with a karakia and settling for the night. Wouldn’t those children be more ready for school the next day? Wouldn’t this say to the community that the Lord hears the cry of the poor.
How does our faith translate to action?
There are many challenges for schools to be able to do this. Having areas that are secure and supported during the night. Protecting the classroom and student work, providing bathroom facilities and the extra cleaning costs, ensuring that the health and safety of all involved is considered and planned. Big challenges to do such a simple thing – to shelter the homeless!
Some schools use the phrase with students, “What would Jesus do? “ It is a good question. The answer is even more important!