Fifth Sunday of Lent: Caminamos Juntos, We Walk Together
BY SR. NORMA PIMENTEL | March 21, 2021
Fifth Sunday of Lent – Today’s Readings
Reflexión en Español
For almost two years by the southernmost tip of Texas across the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, thousands of vulnerable women, men, and children lived in a makeshift “tent city” while awaiting rulings on their applications for asylum in the United States. These families slept in donated tents at the mercy of extreme weather conditions where temperatures could rise above 100 degrees, and when it rained, the downpours knocked down their only refuge and left them in the midst of mud pits. Imagine living in such uncertainty, where you would have to depend on outside organizations for food and water, where you had to cook over a campfire daily.
For some in our nation it was easy to turn a blind eye, as these families were not within their view. But how could we not cross the bridge to reach out to them? How could we not respond to God’s call to love, to be present to that Christ who is before us?
Bishop Daniel E. Flores from our Diocese of Brownsville reminds us often, “Caminamos juntos o no vamos a llegar.” We walk together or we are not going to arrive.
We lived a daily grace as we accompanied these families and did what we could to provide hope in the form of a hug, a smile, a meal, a place to rest their heads; we witnessed also their resilience and the gift of our faith alive in actions. In today’s reading we hear the Lord say, “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.”
There will be struggles and there will be joys. After two years of waiting, we witnessed a triumphant moment when these families were finally allowed to cross into the United States. We were grateful that we could be God’s presence to them, that we could walk with them in solidarity. We could only do this by following the one who calls us.
As I accompanied them and crossed the bridge together, I looked back to where they had been waiting, it was as if there was a blanket of grace over the camp. God’s hand had brought a gentle presence of loving care to them because of those who followed Him.
Don’t be afraid to wake up early and ask God, “Where do you want me to follow you today?”
And to respond, “I’m ready. ¡Aqui estoy!”
- Where do you hear God’s voice? Where are you being called to follow the one who calls you?
- What bridges must you cross to respond to God’s love?
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.
God, I can not be with those crossing the border physically but I can share my grace with them. This is a moment of peace and joy for them as they begin a new life filled with the love of people walking with them across that border. Let their new home be filled with kindness, love, simplicity and growth in the knowlege/love of Christ. Help them to find a way to support others through work, prayer and service. Help them to deepen their love for you. Help them to find ways to assist others in the midst of their crossing. Through the Scriptures today we see that Christ knows He will endure pain on our behalf. Help us to endure the pain on behalf of others.Help us to live the life that Jeremiah calls us to in today’s reading to live the new covenant, to have what God wants of us written on our hearts. We ask you this through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen
Thank you for sharing Sister’s reflection. I searched for more about sister and her work and found the amazing documentary of hers…. Oh Mercy. Share it with all as we move to freeing those at the border. Thank you!
Here is the link to more on Sister and the movie
“Aqui estoy!” is Hineni in the bible (76 times): A Hebrew word–used a so many key times in the stories. Means so much more than just “Here I am Lord!” It connotes “Is it I Lord? Send me! I’m ready to do anything for You!” A great way to declare that I am embracing a fiery love-affair with God!
I’d like to suggest that Sister Norma and friends of her choosing would offer to talk with President Biden and/or Cabinet person responsible for the border response to offer them insights and ideas how better to handle this crisis situation .Sister Norma brings years of experience and compassion to the programs. I am serious about this.
Sister Frances Cunningham
It takes courage to answer a call. The Reverend Sr. Norma Pimentel and her colleagues are doing fine. May their tribe increase. God bless.
You are one Awesome Leader of People who understand what Jesus wants!!
Would that I could come down to Texas and volunteer with you.
Make sandwiches, color and play with children , teach them, diaper them..
Having lived in foreign countries and not knowing the language, the laws ,and customs,
I too have been frightened and very alone feeling… bit with the Grace of God always had my Faith and His Angels to help me through my dark days, which were NOTHING compared to what these poor people go through!
God Bless You!