Across the globe, many are struggling with how to respond to the refugees arriving within their borders.
Daily, I see the suffering of immigrant families fleeing violence and poverty.
Much like the man born blind in John’s Gospel, these people were born into economic and social hardships they did not choose. Like the blind man, they seek a better life in which they can feed their families and live without fear or discrimination.
Although many people and organizations seek to provide humanitarian care to the stranger among us, refugees are often in danger of not receiving the protection and human dignity they deserve as God’s children.
In today’s Gospel reading the Pharisees criticize Jesus for working on the Sabbath while, at the same time, ignoring the blind man’s deep suffering and Jesus’ healing miracle.
So, we may ask ourselves: Who is truly blind? Is it the man who was not able to see since his birth or the leaders of the establishment who have no vision, no compassion?
In the spiritual tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for the grace of divine sight — sight that would allow you to witness and empathize with those who experience gross inequality.
May your charitable work this Lenten season include advocating for those in most need of mercy and healing. Call upon the leaders of your city, state and nation. Beg them “to see” the injustice of laws that cause or perpetuate suffering.
May God’s grace be visible through you as you rise up in support of the most vulnerable in our midst.
Sr. Norma Pimentel, M.J., a sister with the Missionaries of Jesus, is the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. She oversees the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, providing oversight of different ministries and services in the Rio Grande Valley through emergency assistance, homelessness prevention, disaster relief, clinical counseling, pregnancy care, food programs, and humanitarian relief to immigrants.