Third Sunday of Lent
By Martha Sanchez, member of CTA’s Anti-Racism Team and CTA’s Rio Grande Valley Chapter
Then God said, “I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt; I have heard their cries under those who oppress them; I have felt their sufferings.
God says, “I see the affliction of my people on the southern border, I hear their cries under those who oppress them, I feel their suffering.” God asks, “Do you see the afflictions and suffering of those fleeing violence; and what is your reaction? Do you provide comfort and support, or ignore their plight?”
How far is our country from the message that the scripture provides? The message we keep hearing from the administration is to build a wall to keep those people out of our country. In order to keep people fleeing violence from seeking asylum we have separated children from their parents, shut the government down when money for the wall was not approved, and declared a national emergency– to keep people of color from seeking asylum.
I wonder as this reading is proclaimed in every Catholic church in this country, will people hear the words God is saying? Or will they be like the former attorney general Mr. Whitaker, who did not understand why he was being asked about the family separations that have occurred due to the policies of this administration? He did not seem to care about these people.
I have a story I would like to share. On a recent trip to Albuquerque, I could not help but notice a mother with a young teenager who would be on the same flight I would be taking. As we waited at the gate, I noticed she seemed scared. I put down my phone and approached her and said hello. I noticed she carried a large manila envelope with the words, “I do not speak English, please help me”. I knew God was asking me to be that help, so I listened to the mother and calmed her fears and helped her find her gate. I learned that she was from Guatemala, escaping extreme poverty. She had a heart condition and needed medical care not available to her in her home country. It was easy to help her get on her flight to Dallas where she would continue on to Los Angeles, where a daughter waited for her and her son. She was one of the people that this administration wants to keep out of this country.
I know that God had put her in my path so I could help in her time of need. She was grateful for my help, but I feel blessed that I listened to the voice of God and did not ignore one of those being oppressed in Guatemala and now in this country.
Today, as we continue this journey of Lent that will end with the glory of the resurrection, I pray that we and all people who hear the Word of God will react with compassion and, in hearing the cry of those afflicted, help as we can.
Are you taking the time to hear God’s voice despite the noise constantly surrounding us?
In solidarity with all the families traveling from Central America seeking asylum, I invite you to fast one day a week with having a simple meal. Then with what you save from your normal diet, donate this money to an organization that is helping immigrants and asylum seekers.
Martha Sanchez works as a coordinator for La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, a member of CTA’s Anti-Racism Team and CTA/Rio Grande Valley. She and is currently working with her chapter to organize CTA’s upcoming Life on the Margins Border Experience. She hopes you’ll consider participating in the event to see how rich the bicultural area of the Rio Grande Valley is.