The Fourth Station on the Walk is Daily Bread, a soup kitchen that feeds over 4,200 men, women and children every year. The center serves 200 to 250 people daily and is open 24/7 365 days a year. (www.dailybreadinc.org)
In the richest most powerful nation in the history of the world, one out of six Americans lives in poverty. Hunger in America is a disgrace. There is no reason but greed which accounts for this sad state of affairs. The 1% accumulates more and more while a large percentage of the 99% ends up with less and less.
Feeding America (www.feedingamerica.org) reports:
Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security
In 2011, 50.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children.
In 2011, 14.9 percent of households (17.9 million households) were food insecure.
In 2011, 5.7 percent of households (6.8 million households) experienced very low food security.
In 2011, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.6 percent compared to 12.2percent.
In 2011, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20.6 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (36.8 percent) or single men (24.9 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (25.1 percent) and Hispanic households (26.2 percent).
In 2011, 8.8 percent of seniors living alone (1 million households) were food insecure.
Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 5 percent in Steele County, ND to a high of 37 percent in Holmes County, MS.
Then, we have more God serendipity in today’s scripture reading. In Acts 4 we read:
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.
Many people will go to great lengths to explain away this passage, “It probably worked in the early church; however, it will not work today.” Indeed, it will not work as long as we live by an un-Gospel like scarcity mentality. Life is not about accumulating. Life is about sharing God’s bounty with all God’s children. There is enough to go around but we would rather keep it in silos while hungry children cry themselves to sleep every night.
The prayers at the Fourth Station are powerful:
Lord Jesus, we are searching for you. Where are you suffering today?
All: Look for me among the 17 million American children left hungry every day and the millions more whose dinner tables are empty. Look for me among the unemployed and underemployed due to the never-ending greed of the fortunate. Look for me among the hard working men and women who can’t make a decent wage to feed their families. Look for me among the addicted and mentally ill, deprived of work and help, who must accept hand-outs and humiliation as a result of illnesses so misunderstood. Look for me among those complacent to the plight of others with too little food and water. Look for me among those whose pants are bursting at the seams, unaware of the sin of gluttony and unconcerned for those who are starving. Look for me among the tens of thousands who die of malnutrition every day, the infants who are too hungry even to cry. Seek me there, and you shall find me.
Likewise, the concluding prayer:
Jesus, yours was a ministry of hospitality –
— wine for the bride and groom of Cana;
an abundance of bread and fish for a vast throng on a sea shore in Galilee;
the Bread of Life which assures us of your continued presence in our midst.
So many images of nourishment
as sign and symbol of Your Father’s boundless love!
Shouldn’t we, who call ourselves the people of God,
rush to help any of our brothers or sisters who suffer
for lack of sufficient healthy food and clean water?
Shouldn’t we, who call ourselves the people of God
respect the personal dignity of all?
As we confess our many acts of indifference towards the needs of our brothers and sisters,
we ask that you instill in us your own spirit of generosity and hospitality. And so together we pray,
All: Lord Jesus, slain and resurrected, hear our prayer for the poor.