When I saw this mural of a homeless man and his hot coffee, I thought of the countless cups of coffee that we serve to immigrant women each week. Some mornings, we scramble to warm milk, fill sugar containers, and pour coffee, remembering that this lady likes her coffee heated especially hot and this one doesn’t take milk so fill it to the brim and that one wants her special cup and saucer.
“I was thirsty and you gave me drink.”
Some of the women are easy to serve. They smile. They are grateful. They ask you to sit with them and don’t mind your faltering Arabic. But others gossip or demand things from you while appraising you with hardened eyes. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that serving these women, “the least of these,” is serving the Lord.
But aren’t we all from the lineage of “the least of these”? At one time, weren’t we all watching the world with hardened eyes, cup out-stretched, thirsty? But did we know for what we were thirsting?
“The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Today we serve, we pray, we speak, we love. But we never want those we serve to find fulfillment in a cup of coffee. We want them to walk away thirstier until they find that spring of water that wells up to eternal life.
(Matt. 25:35 and Jn. 4:14)