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A couple Mondays ago I drove home to Ohio from Kansas City. I left my daughter’s house a little before 6:00 a.m. hoping to make it out of town before morning rush hour traffic got too bad. I made it to Columbia, Missouri before stopping for gas and grabbing a bite to eat for breakfast. As I pulled through the fast-food drive-thru, I waffled on whether or not I ought to use my digital coupon, with which I could get a second breakfast sandwich for only one dollar more, or limit myself to just one sandwich. I knew I didn’t need two sandwiches but the deal was just too good to pass up. So, I bought both.

As I waited on traffic to pull out of the parking lot, I unwrapped the first sandwich and chowed down. I pulled out onto the street and drove about 100 feet to the left turn lane that would take me back to the interstate. I had to stop at this traffic light, and as I took my second big bite of that hot, juicy sausage, egg and cheese muffin, I saw a man standing on the island holding a sign that read, “Homeless and hungry. Please help.”

I looked over at the open bag in my passenger seat. I looked back at the man and our eyes met. I looked upwards to God, as if I could see through the roof of my truck, and gave Him a big smile. I rolled down my window and handed the sack and sandwich to the man. With a, “Thank you, Sir! God bless you!”, he sat down and immediately began wolfing down his breakfast as though he hadn’t eaten in a week. As I turned left onto the main road, I uttered, “Thank You, Lord!”, knowing that God had just turned my lack of discipline and temptation for indulgence into an opportunity to be generous and merciful.

I had forgotten about this little event until today when I sat down for my morning prayer. As I usually do, I looked to see who the saint of the day was and today happened to be the Memorial of St. Nicholas (yes, the original Santa Claus). St. Nick was known for his generosity to the poor and is considered the patron saint of poor people.

Then, as I read the scripture for the day, I saw how this all came together. In the first reading I read how the Lord will make the deaf hear, the blind see, the lowly find joy, and the poor “rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” (Is 29:17-24).

Next, in the Psalm for the day I read, “I believe that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.” (Ps 27:13).

And, finally, in the Gospel, I read about Jesus bringing sight to the two blind men after they proclaimed their faith in Him. (Mt 9:27-31).

All of these brought me back to that moment two Mondays ago and moved me to give thanks, again, to our Lord for all the goodness He brings to our lives, especially for His sacrifice on the Cross – that merciful act of love that redeemed us of our sins.

I thought about how, as Christians, we are all called to imitate Christ, and how bringing a little goodness to the world is a good place to start. We meet people all the time during the normal course of our day but we probably don’t have a clue as to how they may be struggling in their lives. Any one of the people with whom our paths cross during any given day could have said a prayer that day asking God for help, relief or healing.

And, I thought how God, in His infinite goodness, may just be putting me in that person’s life, even for a fleeting moment, to help in answering their prayer in some small way through an act of generosity, whether it be a corporal or spiritual work of mercy.

How can you imitate Christ today through your generosity?

“Lord Jesus, today, and always, I desire to sow the seeds of Your Word by being thankful for the opportunity to be Your instrument through whom Your mercy touches those in need. Amen.”

(God Uses Us to be Christ to Others was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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