After Mass at St. Augustine’s Church in Cleveland Sunday, I stopped at the social hall there where, every day, there are meals for the poor. It’s not uncommon for 50 to 75 street people (or people on the edge of being on the street– a majority Black) to be here. Their countenance, more often than not, is depressed, frustrated, angry… mixed with quiet, and sometimes not so quiet, desperation. However, yesterday there was a wholly (not to be confused with: ‘holy’) different atmosphere. That is, the tables were filled with a bunch of neat, well dressed (and for the most part smiling) White people. More than a few of them had on $40 sweaters with Notre Dame insignias. I asked. One man explained this was Cleveland’s “Notre Dame Club.” ND alumnus, and their families, get together regularly around the Cleveland area for these meals. “We also do community service,” the man stressed. And I’m sure they do. That is, these rather well off surburbanites may do a bit of fundraising periodically, maybe drop some second hand coats off for the poor down here occasionally — then head back to their comfortable suburban worlds… thinking they’ve done their bit for God. At the Mass just before, Fr. Ben said he wondered how Jesus would feel seeing a good number of people down here who were homeless? And I couldn’t help but wonder how Jesus would feel about a system that allows for the children of the privileged in suburbia to head off to Notre Dame, Stanford, Bowling Green State University for that matter; while youth down here grow up dodging drugs, hunger and bullets — with little hope for college and a ticket to that suburban world… My wife Liz has been reading a book on social justice of late: The following is an excerpt from it: “Where charity tends to involve individuals or small groups of people acting to meet the immediate needs of others [a coat for the homeless here, a few bucks there]; work for justice involves a more communal, and even global, awareness of problems and their potential long term solutions. Where the notion of charity calls to mind voluntary giving out of one’s surplus, the notion of justice suggests that there is an absolute obligation to share the benefits of God’s creation more broadly than we see in the present order. Translated: People in suburban America need to slow their upward mobility climb, cut back on their lifestyles (read: sacrifice), and put a lot of energy, resources, and smarts — into shifting the ‘present order’ toward: education systems, healthcare systems, business systems… that are much more equitable — for all. That is, if one takes the gospel message seriously.