Seeds of the Word - When mercy renews our hope

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People with merciful hearts help us trust that not everything is lost

My parents came to visit us from Mexico this past summer. Strolling down Elliott Bay in Seattle, a young lady with blond hair, in her early 20s, walked ahead of us. She might well have been a tourist. She watched everything around, and like us, went in and out of all souvenir shops. On our way, we passed by a homeless lady, sitting on a bench, shoeless. This young lady watched her, sat at her side, took her shoes off and asked the woman to try them on. Seeing they fit well, she asked her to keep them and continued her stroll barefoot.

Being the Year of Mercy, my journalistic instinct impelled me to reach out to her and ask for an interview. I wanted to ask what had moved her to do such a generous deed. I had just witnessed how God had blessed that woman who had no shoes, through a young lady with a heart of gold.

The inner joy after making a good deed

Most people keep walking when someone reaches out begging for help. A few will spare a coin or their lunch leftovers. Even fewer will take their sweater off and give it away. But taking her shoes off and going barefoot was a live example of mercy that filled my heart with hope — there are still good people in this world. There are still young people with generous hearts able to go to the extreme. If in her 20s this lady is able to feel moved and share her own shoes with someone who has none, what will she be able to do in her 40s?

Alas, at that very instant we were fumbling with ice creams melting in our hands under the scorching sun. When I looked up again, the young lady had vanished in the crowd. I could not speak with her.

Half an hour later, I ran into her again. She was standing in the line for the giant Ferris wheel at the pier. I saw her from a distance, with her bare feet and a smile on her lips. This was not the smile of a tourist having fun. It was, instead, the smile that reflects the inner joy that rewards our hearts when we choose to be good. Every time we do a good deed, we feel proud of ourselves, no matter how simple our acts can be. Picking up an object someone dropped, holding the door for the people behind us, or aiding an elderly person across the street is enough to feel good about ourselves. Each of our good deeds is rewarded with a merry feeling.

God blesses his children through his own children

Doing good deeds dignifies us as men and women, and makes us resemble more and more our God, who created us in his image and likeness. Thus, this joyous feeling we experience. How couldn’t this young lady radiate her inner joy after being the bearer of God’s blessing to a woman who had no home and no shoes? God was not going to make a pair of shoes pop up out of thin air in front of the homeless woman. He was not going to send an angel from heaven holding a pair of sandals in his hand. To bless this woman in her dire need, God would send his blessing through one of his daughters capable of opening her heart.

God blesses his children through his own children. This is why he asks us to be merciful, so he can show his mercy to his children when they need it the most.

My parents felt tired after the long walk in the heat. It was time for us to go back home. I was not able to wait for this young lady to ride the Great Wheel so I could try to catch her afterward and ask her for an interview. I don’t even know her name. But her generosity made my soul tremble. Most of all, it renewed my hope — there are still good and merciful people around us. Let’s become one of them!

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5,7)

Be passionate about our faith!

Read the Spanish version of this “Semillas de la Palabra” column from the October 2016 issue of NORTHWEST CATHOLIC.

Mauricio I. Pérez, a member of St. Monica Parish on Mercer Island, is a Catholic journalist. His website is