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.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.
- 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., 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.