Today’s Mass Readings

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For I was hungry and you gave me food….

  • More than a quarter of African-American households are food insecure. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

I was thirsty and you gave me drink…

  • 5 million U.S. Latinos live in colonias (unincorporated communities with substandard housing) along the U.S.-Mexico border, “where a lack of potable water and sewage treatment contributes to waterborne diseases such as giardiasis, hepatitis, and cholera.” (Mom’s Clean Air Force)
  • “Even as children were showing up sick in doctor’s offices with rashes and cases of hair loss, state environmental officials and elected leaders refused to see the warning signs. Would more have been done, and at a much faster pace, if nearly 40 percent of Flint residents were not living below the poverty line? The answer is unequivocally yes.” (NAACP Statement Regarding the Flint Water Crisis)

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A stranger and you welcomed me….

  • The Obama administration deported more than 430,000 undocumented immigrants in fiscal year 2013. 2 million people have been deported since Obama took office. (Pew Research Center)

Ill and you cared for me….

  • “American Indians and Alaska Natives have an infant death rate 60 percent higher than the rate for Caucasians. AI/ANs are twice as likely to have diabetes as Caucasians. An example is the Pima of Arizona, who have one of the highest diabetes rates in the world. AI/ANs also have disproportionately high death rates from unintentional injuries and suicide. In 2012, the tuberculosis rate for AI/NAs was 6.3, as compared to 0.8 for the White population.” (US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health) 

In prison and you visited me….

  • In 2013 “non-Hispanic blacks (37%) comprised the largest portion of male inmates under state or federal jurisdiction in 2013, compared to non-Hispanic whites (32%) and Hispanics (22%). White females comprised 49% of the prison population compared to 22% black females. However, the imprisonment rate for black females (113 per 100,000) was twice the rate of white females (51 per 100,000).” (US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics)

Reflection Questions:

  • What do these “numbers” tell us about whether – or how – we are loving our African-American, Latino, and Native American neighbors as ourselves?
  • Or as the Scripture puts it, “Lord, when do we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?” In our country? Our communities? Our neighborhoods?

4 replies
  1. Avatar
    Earl says:

    This Gospel reading has always scared the *bleep* out of me – this, and the story of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man. The rich are condemned to eternal damnation, not because they were hostile to the poor, but because they were merely indifferent. I like to think that I’m doing my part: I write my checks to CRS, the Campaign for Human Development, etc., and I volunteer at the local food pantry. But I’m still nagged by whether I can and should be doing more. Thank you for this series. It’s helping to keep me uncomfortable.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Ange says:

    I agree with Earl. It seems that no matter how much or how little I do, it just never seems enough. SO many people need help and it breaks my heart that I can’t help all of them. I remind myself ‘there by the grace of God go I.’ I pray to be of help to others. Thank you, Mary, for your information on these statistics.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Calvin says:

    Thanks, Mary, for looking at Matthew 25 through this distinctive lens. This is probably my favorite passage in all the Bible, because it makes demands on our life — a demand of love and re-orientation of the soul towards those “the least of these.” This is my prayer, my hope this Lenten, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that my love may deepen, may strengthen and may be turned outward to all people. I specifically thank you for including facts concerning Native Americans. I teach on the Pine Ridge Reservation and their stories and cause are no less important although society by-in-large renders them invisible. So far, I am really taking great root in this series. I echo Ange’s point that these reflections make me uncomfortable, which is great! God Bless.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Calvin says:

    Thanks, Mary. This is probably my favorite passage in all the Bible, because it makes demands on our life — a demand of love and re-orientation of the soul towards those “the least of these.” This is my prayer, my hope this Lenten, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that my love may deepen, may strengthen and may be turned outward to all people. I specifically thank you for including facts concerning Native Americans. I teach on the Pine Ridge Reservation and their stories and cause are no less important although society by-in-large renders them invisible. So far, I am really taking great root in this series. I echo Ange’s point that these reflections make me uncomfortable, which is great! God Bless.

    Reply

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