Gathering the Nations

A Reflection by Elizabeth Pardi

I was leaving a weekday Mass one day, passing the casual conversations among churchgoers outside. As I plopped the baby into her car seat and began considering lunch options, I caught sight of the gathering of people standing in a formless line outside the soup kitchen across the street. My heart softened as the Holy Spirit gently reminded me that the God of the universe had entered humanity in poverty. The crowd outside the church comprised my comfort zone, all of us sharing the same faith and social status. The crowd across the street, however, was where the Savior of the world would’ve been comfortable. I was moved to step outside my comfort zone. I pulled the baby from her car seat and then grabbed the box of granola bars I keep in the glove box for munchies on the go. Next thing I knew, we were heading across the street.

The people in the line looked puzzled at the sight of the lady with a baby approaching from the church parking lot. When I offered the snacks, their puzzlement turned to deep gratitude and they emphatically expressed thanks to me and, more importantly, to God. I only had four granola bars to hand out but it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d had fifty. It wasn’t about the food I was distributing; it was about the hearts the Spirit was gathering.

 Elizabeth Pardi

Elizabeth Pardi

Elizabeth Pardi is a wife, mother, writer, runner and perpetual pajama wearer. She writes from Columbus, OH where she seeks joy by learning and laughing her way through the messiness of this journey. Read more of her work at

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