At first, Elijah strikes me as arrogant, turning to the poorest of the poor for support. But it was God’s idea — and I have been in Elijah’s spot. For my Jesuit novice pilgrimage, I was sent to a poor parish in El Paso, just a few blocks from the US-Mexican border. I was told that the parishioners would provide for me.
My first day in the parish, I hesitated to ask anyone for money. Who was I to take resources from the poor? But I needed a bus ticket, so the next day at Mass, I told parishioners I needed a little money—about $40. My hands soon overflowed with about $250 in coins and bills. This was the poorest place I visited on pilgrimage. It was also the most generous.
Perhaps, with Elijah, we can learn from the poor: Even when we have little left to give, we can be generous.