The most important thing Dinner with Grace seeks to do is build relationships. I recently discovered an inspiring quote of Gustavo Gutierrez in Anne Sutherland Howard's book, "Claiming the Beatitudes" which speaks to the significance of friendship and the preferential option for the poor:
The preferential option for the poor is ultimately a question of friendship. Without friendship, an option for the poor can easily become commitment to an abstraction (to a social class, a race, a culture, an idea). Aristotle emphasized the important place of friendship for the moral life, but we also find this clearly stated in John's Gospel. Christ says, "I do not call you servants, but friends." As Christians, we are called to reproduce this quality of friendship in our relationships with others. When we become friends with the poor, their presence leaves an indelible imprint on our lives, and we are much more likely to remain committed.Many thanks to Meredith May and Brant Ward at the San Francisco Chronicle for their helpful coverage and attention.