Why We Need To Feed the Hungry & Give Drink to the Thirsty

After finishing up the spiritual works of mercy, let us examine the seven corporal works of mercy. These works of mercy focus on serving the visible needs of our neighbor and are an essential part about being a Christian. We do not want to be like the "goats" that Jesus sent away to eternal punishment, because we failed to see Christ in our neighbor:
"For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’" Matthew 25:42-45
The first corporal work of mercy is to “feed the hungry.” Feeding the hungry is a basic tenet of being a Christian, but many of us do not practice it. It is not because there is no one going hungry around us. The opportunities are there. 

Almost every community has a food bank or emergency food pantry where they distribute food to families in need. Additionally, many communities have “soup kitchens,” where they offer weekly or daily meals for those in need. We should do well this Year of Mercy to challenge ourselves and engage in at least one action that feeds a hungry person in the community.

The second corporal work of mercy might seem redundant, but is in fact a separate work of mercy. “To give drink to the thirsty” is similar to the action of “feeding the hungry,” but addresses a different need of the body and is not easily accomplished. There are many parts of the world, even in our own country, where fresh drinking water is scarce or impossible to find.

Water is such a vital of life and when that is not available, it disrupts everything. It can be anything from a drought to the contamination of drinking water. Most often we will practice this work of mercy while feeding the hungry, but there will be other opportunities that we can engage in to ensure access to fresh water.

If you ever need motivation to "give drink to the thirsty," just remind yourself the last time you were thirsty and did not have immediate access to water. There are some who go without water the entire day because of their situation. 

In the end, let us resolve this Year of Mercy to never forget the "hungry" and "thirsty" of our communities.

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