A recent trip to my local grocery store has prompted me to make a New Year’s Resolution [this should be done at the beginning of the Church year in September, but this just happened, so I’m making an exception for the secular new year]. It was dark (about 8:30 p.m.) and as I got out of my car and walked towards the front door, I was approached by a young black man with long dreadlocks, pushing a shopping cart piled high with what was obviously his entire earthly possessions. “Maam, can you help me?”, he said. I paused, a little uneasy. I reached into my purse and grabbed a dollar which I knew was in my wallet, but I kept my eyes fixed on the man. I handed it to him, the dollar at my fingertips since I was wary of getting too close. Even though I figured that he would use it to buy liquor or drugs, I was too nervous to not give him anything. He looked down at the dollar, looked up at me, and proceeded to give the money back to me. “No,” he stammered. “I was wondering if you could buy me something to eat. I’m really hungry.” It dawned on me that he was probably afraid to go in to the grocery to buy anything with the money he had panhandled; either that, or they had kicked him out previously.

I stared at him for moment in disbelief. I’d never had a homeless person refuse money and actually ask me for some food. “Uh, sure,” I said quietly. I went in and bought him something to eat and brought it out to him. He thanked me, our eyes locking for a moment. And then he walked away. I got in my car and cried.

My New Year’s Resolution: do not judge anyone.

I thought of St. Juliana of Lazarevo (my Name’s Day is January 2nd). Merciful Juliana, pray unto God for us!