Contributed by Connor Early (10th grade student), Clive, IA
and Angie Larson, Clive, Iowa
Warm-up Question: What would you do to help people in need? Are there limits to what you would do?
Jorge Munoz may sound like the name of a typical New Yorker, but he is much more than that. He is a school bus driver! But more importantly, Jorge Munoz, 44, has supplied over 70,000 meals to the homeless over the past four years.
Every night he pulls up in his white pickup truck and unloads as many as 140 meals with hot food, coffee, and hot chocolate. Both food and gas costs are estimated to be about $400-450 a week, which he pays for with his $700 a week paycheck. People of all backgrounds come to receive a meal, usually their first and only for the day.
Jorge says that seeing these people remind him of when he first arrived in America in the 1980’s. He was born in Columbia and his father had died when he was young. His mother had moved to Brooklyn to earn money to support him and his sister, and he soon followed. He achieved citizenship with his mother and sister in 1976. He stood on the streets not looking for work, but as an immigrant, much like the people he serves.
Jorge began his now non-profit meal program in the summer of 2004, naming it “An Angel in Queens, Inc.” His work has consumed much of his time, money, and space, but he or his sister carries the work on every night of the year. When asked why he spends so much time helping people he doesn’t even know, he replied:
“I have a stable job, my mom, my family, a house… everything I want, I have. And these guys [don’t]. So I just think, ‘OK, I have the food.’ At least for today they’re going to have a meal to eat.”
- How is Jorge helping to make a difference in the world? What steps is he taking to reduce hunger?
- How do you think the people feel towards Jorge’s generosity? What is something they might say to him?
Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, November 29, 2009. (first day of Advent)
(Text links are to oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year B at Lectionary Readings.)
For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.
In the 1st Thessalonians text, Paul writes about increasing and abounding in love. In Luke, we are reminded to not be weighed down by the worries of this life. Both texts spread news about living a life of abundance instead of a life of scarcity. Often we think that we do not have enough. We do not have enough money. We do not have enough material goods. We do not have enough of whatever it takes to fill our need or want.
The good news is that love abounds and God provides. Jesus tells us that the kingdom is near. The kingdom is within us.
In the Gospel, we are warned against things that lead to a life of scarcity. Jesus tells us to look out for those things that get in the way of living the abundant life that God has planned for our lives. When we look at life as short and precious as it is, we can adopt an attitude of gratefulness; abounding in love.
Jorge Munoz adopts this way of life. He does not let his career as a bus driver or that he’s an immigrant keep him from giving in abundance. Instead, he realizes that he has much to give from his abundance. He is not weighed down by what he lacks, but gives from what he has. We can do the same.
- In what area of your life do you feel like you have scarcity? What is scarcity?
- Realistically, do you think you would be like Jesus, James and John, or the other ten disciples?
Learn more about:
- Service and mission opportunities for youth and young adults
- Justice and peace resources for youth
- Make It Simple resource about simplicity and generosity
- ELCA World Hunger
- Just For Life ELCA Outdoor Ministry Curriculum
Everything I have
Ask your group to write down everything that they own all over a huge piece of paper. Or do it as a huge collage of photos, pictures, and drawings.
- Step back and look at all the things listed.
- What’s your first impression?
- What are your first thoughts about your life, generosity, need, decisions you make, lifestyle, and how you will live life?
Blessed Savior, thank you for serving us. Help us to remember to serve others. We know that at times we look towards power and prestige; we ask you to help us redirect ourselves during those times. Bless those who serve others with their lives. Enable us to learn and live extraordinary lives of service. In your name we pray. Amen.