imageThis reflection is based on John 6:1-15.

I grabbed a quick cup of coffee the other morning on the way to a meeting, and just as I came out of Dunkin Donut, there she was, a woman about my age, waiting, looking at me. “Please, sir, some change for a cup of coffee,” she said.

Stunned, I instinctively shook my head and walked away, sipping from my cup. But every step made it harder for me to take another sip as my mind raced: The face of that woman, the humility of her request, me rushing away with my fresh cup of coffee.

Her intrusiion into my life was not welcome. I was running late for my meeting. All I wanted was my cup of coffee to start my day. Not a stranger and not this minor dilemma she was causing. I had some change in my pocket. Should I go back? But I had been walking so quickly that I was already two blocks away. It was no longer practical to go back; it would be ridiculous to go back now. “There will be another chance, another stranger,” I told myself, “and next time I will be quicker in giving.”

Compassion can be disconcerting. I remembered a quote from Fr. Greg Boyle, the Californian Jesuit who spent years working with teenage gangsters in L.A.: “Compassion is to stand in awe at what the poor have to carry, rather than to stand in judgement of how they carry it.”

She saw me coming back from a distance, and there was a look of disbelief in her eyes–as in mine, surprised that I had decided to walk all the way back. “Thank you, sir, thank you!” was what she said when I handed her some money for her morning coffee. But she shouldn’t thank me, I thought as I smiled at her, not without awe. The money I pressed into her hand wasn’t mine; it was ours, only entrusted to me to be shared–like the five fish and five loaves at the Lord’s picnic.

The Lord is right: We will never have our fill until all of us–each and every one–has had ours.

16 replies on “WHEN WE HAVE OUR FILL”

I always believe that the “beggars” are people who completely trust us that we are God’s hands to give. Lord, Let us see you in the distressing disguise of the poor, the least of our brethren.

Thanks, Fr. Johnny. The way of finding God in everything”, in every person, including that beggar-

Yes!!!we have to thank the Good God for many things in our life.But we must never forget to share when we have but sometimes there is nothing in us to share but we can pray for them that some generous persons will come to help.It is true that whatever we have doesn’t belong to us even if we have earned them.They belong to our father in heaven who gave us the abilities and talent to earn a living.Papa God bless us…amen

Thank you so much Fr. Johnny…..thank you so much, Lord……”compassion is to stand in awe of what the poor have to carry, rather than stand in judgment in how they carry it.” Could not have been said more clearly to me……in all humility, I am sorry……

Thank you for reminding us to be more compassionate and to be mindful of our tendency to be judgmental.

This happens often here. I will be more compassionate next time.
Thanks Fr Johnny for shaking us up.


Thank you. I do not think I would have gone back. Fr. Boyle and you inspire me to see with different eyes.

Fr. Johnny, thank you for teaching us that moments of moral crisis, confrontation and recovery is the road to become a better person. It takes a lot of humility if we hope of rising up transformed.

This sentence struck me– “Compassion is to stand in awe at what the poor have to carry, rather than to stand in judgement of how they carry it.” Just as there are many poor people who carry their burden with dignity, there are those whose attitude can really be a turn you off. I have personally experienced being told, and quite arrogantly at that, “obligasyon ninyong mga mayayaman ang tulungan kaming mga mahihirap.” It certainly tests one’s desire to share.

Hi Fr. Johnny! This is a common enough experience. Same dilemma. Same guilt for choosing to walk away hurriedly. I pray next time that my first instinct would be to show compassion and fill a need rather than be judgmental or indifferent and just walk away.

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