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A Samaritan Family

There was a restaurateur in San Antonio for many years, named Raul Jimenez. He loved his city, and in 1979, started fixing a free Thanksgiving turkey dinner in the downtown convention center initially for senior citizens who were alone and/or unable to cook for themselves. Since then it has expanded to anyone needy in town, and currently serves over 24,000 each Thanksgiving, requiring over 4000 volunteers. Señor Jimenez died in 1998. The tradition has continued, and is a major community event.

On the local news this evening, a diner was interviewed. She was a heavyset Hispanic woman with several facial piercings who, along with her family, had lost their home, and living in some sort of temporary housing. She told the reporter how important it was to spend Thanksgiving together as a family. Her gaze swept around the convention center as she said with deep conviction, “and all of these people are now family.”

The reporter also interviewed a young black man who was a volunteer for the first time. He said this was the first year of many he intends to volunteer.

It is a gathering of the least of these and the greatest of these (many local celebrities and politicians participate in various ways). It is the very image of community, of the human family, of all creeds and races. It is the elderly being served by the young, the poor by the rich, the despised by the popular and the ‘normal’ among them all.

In ancient Israel, there were three festivals during the year where all of Israel were required to come to Jerusalem to worship and feast together, as a reminder of their bond as a people before God. In a sense, the Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner serves a similar function. Who is my neighbor? The one I share Thanksgiving with.

Day 28 Praise:  Praise to the Father of us all, who insists that His Church be the redeemed of all of His children.


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