Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Thursday, February 11, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Novena of Grace 2016

Home : Viewpoints : Editorials
12/30/2013 3:01:00 PM
The public Gospel: Life is messy
Catholic News Service
Pope Francis blesses the sculpture
Catholic News Service
Pope Francis blesses the sculpture "Jesus the Homeless" during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.
Tom Sheridan

I've worked my share of soup kitchens, homeless shelters and Catholic Charities' food lines. The experiences, the smells and noises never leave me. Not to mention the heartache.

The line snakes through the large hall. Men, women and children wait patiently outside in the cold. Inside, pots are steaming: soup, meat -- often ham or turkey or pork chops -- and potatoes, vegetables, bread, and lots and lots of coffee.

The food smells great, but there are other odors. Musty clothes. More than a hint, here and there, of body odor. This is the smell of poverty. If sadness and depression have an odor, that's there, too.

But if you think practicing Gospel values means being squeaky clean, you're probably not doing it right. It can be messy work, because that's where people -- hungry, hurting, wounded people -- live.

If you listen, especially with your heart, you can hear God.

Religion, good at feeding souls, also feeds the body. But it doesn't happen without controversy.

Even as Catholics -- and some others -- work to give food to those without, there is a continuing debate over the place of religion in society.

Too often those who maintain that Christianity is being squeezed out of the public square fail to appreciate the diversity of society and how embracing that diversity by proclaiming the church's social gospel means spreading the kingdom of God.

Yes, the soup-kitchen hungry might be Catholic. But likely not. There are Protestant hungry, too. And Jewish. Even Muslim and the unchurched.

At none of the shelters where I've labored did I ever see one that made a big "thing" about religion. The diners were greeted, smiled at and fed. They were talked to, treated like fellow humans. Which, of course, they are. There's no religion test. There were no sermons before eating; no required services afterward. No Bible tracts slipped onto the trays.

So, OK, there was the occasional "God bless you" from a volunteer.

A soup kitchen may be a belly-filling experience for the patrons, but for me it has been a humbling one. And an enlightening one as well: scores of hungry people being fed by charity within blocks of the financial district where a stock market fluctuation can make or lose fortunes for wheeler-dealers.

This one also was just a few blocks from Chicago's tony shopping district, all dressed up for Christmas, where a tiny portion of the luxuries purchased each day would more than fund care -- or jobs -- for the homeless.

Watching the diners eat is instructive. Some warily trundle off into a protected corner and huddle over their plates, fearful that someone will take it away. Yes, a substantial percentage of any soup kitchen's homeless "clients" are emotionally disturbed. They are victims of a society that doesn't seem to acknowledge the most damaged of people.

But there are others, even families, whose fortunes have slipped from being the working poor into hardscrabble homelessness. These are victims of an economy that too often rewards the wealthy and penalizes the poor.

The debate over the place of religion in society and public life will likely continue. Some people will make a stink because a clerk wished them "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas." And they'll sputter about how ours is a Christian country. As though hungry Jews, hungry Muslims, even hungry atheists, somehow don't count.

Such foolish talk fails to advance the kingdom of God because it ignores the real presence of faith around us.

Want to see faith in the public square? Go see where the hungry are fed, the hurting consoled, the wounded healed. It's happening now at a soup kitchen near you. Because this is where the church is.


Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved