Radio Show

Pope Francis and Helping the Homeless


In this clip from the Busted Halo Radio Show, the team asks, “What is that awesome Pope Francis up to today?”

Recently, Pope Francis encouraged people to give charitably at every opportunity, but an interviewer asked, “What if I give money to a homeless man, and he goes out and spends it on a glass of wine?” Pope Francis says that this should not dissuade us from acts of charity: “If a glass of wine is the only happiness he has in life, that’s okay. Instead, ask yourself what do you do on the sly, what happiness do you seek in secret?”

The radio show’s sound engineer, Mike, has been talking on-air about his Lenten promise to give charitably to anyone he sees asking for money and to not worry about how the person might spend the money. People often say that they don’t want to give to needy folks they encounter on the street for this reason, but Mike has resolved that he won’t fret over how they use the money — he just wants to “inspire hope in them.” Brett adds that regardless of the reason the person is asking for money, to do so indicates that the person’s life is difficult enough and a little compassion might go a long way. Moreover, Father Dave recalls something he heard from a priest when he was in the seminary: “If we’re not occasionally getting ‘taken’ — meaning somebody does give us a false story and we hand over money and that’s not what they use it for — if we’re not occasionally getting taken, then we’re not being generous enough, we’re not being charitable enough.”

The first caller to respond to this says that she’s become jaded after learning that a man who had been asking for money on the side of the road in her community for 15 years was, in fact, leading an otherwise normal, financially stable life. Since then, she prefers to give water or food to those who are in need. Father Dave applauds the caller for her commitment to giving food and drink to those who need it, but he also repeats the notion that, if we are being charitable in the way the Gospel calls us to be, then we will be taken advantage of every so often. Moreover, Father Dave says that “if we’re looking at [charity] as a kind of investment, like in the stock market, where we want to be sure and hedge our bets, well, then that’s not charity — that’s investing.”

Another caller phones in to share her positive experiences giving to the homeless and the hungry on the street. One of her practices is that she likes to ask those to whom she gives what their names are and have a brief conversation. One morning she gave to two men whose names were Emmanuel and Christopher. Struck by the Christological ring to their names, she felt God was telling her that she was on the right track.

In summation, Father Dave says that “we are ideally about one another. Obviously, there are practical limitations … but the idea of charity is that it comes from a place where we want to care and be compassionate for one another.” (Original Air 03-02-17)


Photo credit: A homeless man sits on a sidewalk in Philadelphia. (CNS photo/CJ Gunther, EPA)