BY EMMA TACKE | February 19, 2018
Today’s Readings

In my work to end the death penalty I often hear that those who are executed “get what they deserve.” Many people don’t realize that the death penalty does not serve as a deterrent to crime and is a gross miscalculation of justice. The death penalty disproportionately affects people of color, those living in poverty, and individuals with intellectual disability and severe mental illness.

In the Gospel reading for the first Monday of Lent, the scripture invites us to recognize Christ in those most often forgotten in our society: “whatever you do for the least of these sisters and brothers of mine, you did for me,” (Mt. 25: 40).  This message is one frequently quoted from the pulpit, but how often do we take these words into consideration when confronted with the daily realities of our broken world?

As people of faith, we are called to love fiercely. When we forget to look for Christ in our fellow brothers and sisters, it becomes easier to ignore the humanity in one another. We fully embrace Christ when we love the people whom society would rather have us condemn and judge without mercy. The humanity we seek to find within ourselves can only be found when we search for the humanity in others.

Our hearts are meant to be broken for the sake of one another. When we remember that how we treat the most marginalized in society is a reflection of our love for Christ, we will be ignited to embrace this challenge to love when it would be easier to hate.

Three states—Alabama, Florida, and Texas—will carry out executions February 22nd. As we prepare for Easter this Lenten season, let us remember the people who will be executed during this holy time: Thomas Whitaker, Doyle Lee Hamm, and Eric Branch. May we seek opportunities to find Christ and cherish one another’s human dignity in our brothers and sisters instead of guarding our hearts with hate or indifference.

Sign the National Catholic Pledge to End the Use of the Death Penalty.

3 replies
  1. Avatar
    Karen says:

    Yesterday I read the Sunday paper here in buffalo New York and a 29 year old man was beaten , stripped of his clothes from the waist down and bloodied in his face horribly. He looked at the police officer and said “look what they did to me.” My heart broke for him. The author wrote today “our hearts are meant to be broken for one another.” I said a prayer of thanks to God that my heart did break. I bought a card and hope to deliver it to trauma center – hoping this individual knows strangers are praying for him.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Sue says:

    One of the men mentioned in this reading, raped and murdered the daughter of a family in my then church fellowship. My heart is broken for her family, and for the family of the man that commited this brutal act. I pray for both families, and the communities whose hearts are broken, and breaking still. I struggle to pray for the killer, but I try. Justice is not possible once the crime has been committed. I pray for some sort of peace – a peace that passes all understanding- for all of us that have had our hearts broken.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *