by Maggie Hendrix, IPS Student, Religious Education
This video has been making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter in the past 24-36 hours. Comedian Michael Ian Black posted it to his website, commenting, “This is the most awesome and depressing thing I’ve seen in quite a while … Watch the guy’s body language as he’s doing this. I say this in all sincerity: this country has to get its s–t together.”
It’s funny how often we walk by the homeless and don’t bat an eye, but when they put on a show with puppets, we are moved. I’m no better. I found myself bawling after watching this video, but I’ve grown numb to the homeless that I see so often in Chicago.
It’s not about reaching into our pocket and handing over cash every time we see a homeless person. If you can, great. But there are things that cost nothing, but still fall into Jesus’s command to love. Dignity doesn’t cost a penny. Recognizing the humanity in the homeless with a smile or a kind word doesn’t require you to open your wallet. Friendship, too. Maybe it won’t be as filling as a turkey sandwich, but it’s a start.
In the book “Jesus Before Christianity,” Albert Nolan, O.P. examines Christ’s choices, and what they should mean to us. Nolan posits that Christ empowered those around him not by handing over money, but by treating everyone as his equal. He washed the feet of his friends. He touched lepers. He stood up for the sinning woman. He saw the dignity in every person he met, and treated them accordingly.
Perhaps Jesus would have seen the same beauty in this video that the internet has. Our call as followers of Christ is to not just be moved, but act in the same way Christ would have.