Serving in a Franciscan soup kitchen involves giving of your entire being to people in need. The Gospel reminds us of the reality of the poor and the need to feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, house the stranger, and clothe the naked (Mt. 25,31-36). These efforts are brimming with the nurturing fragrance of the love that comes from our Father, love with which we become partners in establishing the Kingdom here on earth.
We carry out this work with respect, acceptance, dedication and generosity. Not only do we address the merely economic aspect of satisfying an immediate need, on the contrary, we establish signs of the presence of God all loving among the brothers and sisters who dare to ask for help from our house, which is also their house. Most of them arrive with prevailing needs that emanate from the unreasonable reasoning of their rulers and the precarious historical conditions which they have survived, to such an extent that they had to leave home, family, customs, etc. and embark on the path to seek a better life for themselves and their loved ones.
The help we give must be a gift given from human being to human being, in which we provide and share in solidarity and with kindness all that we have, with the sole desire to serve that poor Christ represented in the person of our migrant brothers and sisters. We know that what we do for one of those little ones (in the eyes of the world) is for wholly for God. (Mt. 25,40)
Constant preaching can make us anxious, busy and worried, because words are not enough unless they are used to give comfort to our fellow travelers or to claim and ask for their rights, becoming, at that moment, the voice of those who have no voice. As we serve as heralds who speak out against the injustices, abuses and vicissitudes that these beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters suffer in their pilgrimage, we become one with them, one of them and not only one among them. It is to become a friend, father, mother, brother, confidant or advisor. It is to immerse oneself in their life experience in order to understand the real needs they have, with which they come burdened from their places of origin. Only in this way can we satisfactorily help their needs.
With all this, we are working together so that this common home is more egalitarian, pleasant and welcoming, and that with our care we can erase somewhat the troubles that our brothers and sisters have encountered when boarding the train of their personal journey. This is something that we could not achieve if we did not nourish ourselves with the Word of God in a prayerful way, so that God is the one who acts through us and we can reflect for migrant people the loving face of God that welcomes, cares and protects them.
Fr. Agustìn Garcìa, OFM
Shelter and Dining Room for Migrants San Francisco
Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico
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