Traveling in first century Israel with Jesus would have been dangerous. It takes several days to walk from one community to the next and when traveling light with no extra provisions you would grow accustomed to not eating every day. To find a wheat field and pluck a few grains of wheat would not satisfy any hungry person but it would take the edge off the gnawing in your stomach. A few grains of wheat, a law that says you cannot do any work. Where is the compassion?
The first week I entered the seminary the administration had planned an orientation day to acclimate us to the city of Milwaukee. This meant riding a bus from church to church to cathedrals and basilicas. Great structures giving glory to God. At one site, as we exited the bus, an older woman, dressed rather nice but not of modern clothes approached some of the other seminarians as for money or food. The instructions we had been given were if approached by people of the street to not give them any money. Best just to ignore them. She was telling others it had been several days since she had eaten. She just wanted some money for food. It seemed a small request to me. Looking around the area there was only one restaurant that looked open. I approached her and said I would buy her food at that restaurant if she wanted. We walked quickly over and entered. I asked for a menu and asked her to choose what she wanted. She chose a modest meal and ordered. They took her order and I asked her what her second choice would be. I told the waitress to make that meal for her and put it in a to-go container. I paid for everything, left, and just in time to get back on the bus for the next church destination.
I have worked with many people on the street. You get a sense of who is in desperate need and who is looking to take advantage of you. The best way to know the difference is the compassion you feel in your heart. Do not let your mind direct your actions but listen to the Holy Spirit speaking in your heart.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen