Monday, April 1
The winter can be extremely brutal in Washington, D.C. I moved here a year ago from North Carolina in the dreary midst of winter. Each morning I put on my long, heavy, winter coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. Once bundled in sufficient layers, I make my way onto the streets towards downtown D.C. I encounter many people on the streets who are homeless and without gloves, warm clothes, or anything to keep their extremities covered.
On this particular day, I encountered a guy named Charles. I extended my hand to introduce myself and asked would he like a cup of coffee to warm his hands. I purchased a hot cup of java for Charles and returned back to the place where I was sitting in the coffee shop. Charles’ face was still emblazoned in my mind as I sipped my daily cup of coffee. I reflected on my encounter with Charles; how cold his hands were, as well as how difficult it was for him to shake my hand. Finishing my coffee on my way out the door, I turned to Charles and asked him did he need a pair of gloves. Knowing that the only pair I had were my own, I pulled them off and offered them to Charles. As I handed him the gloves, he turned and asked, “Don’t you need them?” I smiled at Charles and said quietly, “No, I can always get a pair. “
After leaving, Charles yelled, “Thank you, Tony.” As I reflect on today’s verses from John’s gospel, I think maybe Charles is Jesus in the story. The woman was showing Jesus extreme generosity forgetting who was watching or what consequences might follow. Do we realize that even the slightest offer of kindness to a stranger might be received with extravagant joy? Quite often during these cold days, I wash the hands of many with gloves of love and warmth, knowing that I may never see Charles or others at the dinner table. But I will always see Him in the streets among the poor. Jesus is always in need of gloves!
Prayer: Loving God, I forget oftentimes that generosity is not only in the one who demonstrates the gift of compassion, but it is in the pure joy of receiving the gift itself. May we, as your chosen children, always remember the extravagant love poured out on us and the flood of joy that can spring forth to others around us. Amen.