BY SR. NORMA PIMENTEL | February 14, 2018
Ash Wednesday
Today’s Readings

As children in our parents’ home, we are often cautioned to be careful. I remember once when my goddaughter Andrea was around three years old she pointed to all the porcelain figurines in the living room and said, “Don’t touch, don’t touch, don’t touch!”.

Growing up we are taught early on to control our actions, to behave and not break things, damage the furniture, or spoil the beautiful environment our parents have assembled for our family. But in God’s house, occasionally we are required to look around, and react when we see something out of place.

[dusk-photography via Flickr]

Lent is a time for atonement. We are called to become introspective as we examine our conscience, to correct our past misdeeds. In doing so we are also called to be honest with ourselves, and that requires an examination of that which surrounds us. Are the people in God’s house suffering? Is someone near you in need of shelter, clothing, or a small gesture of kindness? Behaving as God’s children does not always mean that we are quiet, immobilized, seated in a pew with our hands folded on our lap.

Get up and take notice of your surroundings. Break through to a better understanding of what’s happening in your world, and participate in the atonement for the sins of all humankind. As we examine what is in the privacy of our hearts, we can evaluate what we allow to happen in our midst, in the collective public view of all.

It might be time to break something in our Father’s House. To start we must break our habits of apathy and indifference and break the culture of turning a blind eye to those in need, breaking through to a better world by looking inside our heart, speaking out and speaking up for our brothers and sisters in Christ who need our help. Let us renew ourselves this Lent and break away from a culture of indifference to one that cultivates encounter and welcome.

For Reflection:

  • How can you better understand what is happening in the world of those who are marginalized?
  • What habits might you break to better work to cultivate a culture of encounter and welcome?

Sr. Norma Pimentel, M.J.

As Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, Sister Norma Pimentel oversees the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, providing oversight of various programs: emergency assistance, clinical counseling, housing assistance, pregnancy care and military assistance. In the summer of 2014 she organized the community resources responding to the surge of refugees seeking asylum in the United States. The Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, TX and its countless volunteers from the around the country have welcomed more than 71,000 individuals from 31 countries. Sister Norma Pimentel earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and graduate degrees in theology and counseling psychology.

Como Directora Ejecutiva de las Caridades Católicas del Valle del Río Grande, la Hermana Norma Pimentel supervisa el brazo caritativo de la Diócesis de Brownsville, supervisando varios programas: asistencia de emergencia, consejería clínica, asistencia en vivienda, atención de embarazo y asistencia militar. En el verano de 2014 organizó los recursos comunitarios que respondían a la oleada de refugiados que buscaban asilo en los Estados Unidos. “The Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen” en McAllen, TX y sus innumerables voluntarios de todo el país han recibido a más de 71,000 personas de 31 países. La hermana Norma Pimentel obtuvo una licenciatura en artes y postgrados en psicología y teología.

2 replies
  1. Rebecca Coates says:

    I try to place myself in the presence of those in need by riding the city bus and by working in the food pantry. And in case I forget, there is a park across from where I live where the homeless sleep on the ground.

    The habit I am trying to break so that I might share God’s love and welcome is not making eye contact or speaking to people in our building elevator. It is easy to put on my headphones, dial up the music, and look at the floor.


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