Day 6: “The Call is Coming from Inside the House”
BY ABBY CAUSEY | February 27, 2023
Marla Cilley, creator of FlyLady.net, came up with the acronym, C.H.A.O.S.: Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. One symptom of C.H.A.O.S. is that your house is in such disarray that you live in constant fear that someone may stop by unannounced. If you are fortunate to be given prior notice, you have just enough time to throw everything into a spare room and close the door.
In reflecting on today’s readings, I took a suggestion from a friend and read them in reverse order. Matthew 25:31-46 is often the rallying cry for Catholics and inspires us to do the Works of Mercy. However, today’s Gospel, entitled the Judgment of the Nations, calls us to a national accountability. We see this common thread run through the first reading in Leviticus when God commands Moses to speak to all of Israel.During this Lenten season, today’s Scripture can be one way in which we do an examination of conscience as a nation—a time for us to open that door to the spare room and confront the mess that has been hidden for too long. In my home state, it is anti-Black racism.
I reside within the Diocese of Richmond, the city that was once the capital and heart of the Confederacy. Dr. Tia Noelle Pratt writes, “The call is coming from inside the house.” I have discovered that we must delve into not just Black history but Black Catholic History. If not, we must be prepared for the answer when we ask, “When did I not see you, Lord?” for Jesus will reply: “When I was hungry, you denied me a place at the Eucharistic table; when I was thirsty, you served me lead-tainted water; when I was imprisoned through your convict-leasing program, you set the precedent for mass incarceration.”
- Who are the least of these in our Church and/or country today that have been ignored or forgotten?
- How can you “open the door to the spare room” and shed light on the least of these “inside the house” and bring them to the forefront?
Abby Causey received her undergraduate degree from Boston College in business administration and holds a master of theology from Saint Leo University. She is a founding member of Virginia Catholics for Racial Justice and is an emeritus board member of JustFaith Ministries. Currently, she serves as the director of evangelization at Church of the Holy Family in Virginia Beach, Virginia and has worked in the Diocese of Richmond for over 20 years at both the parish and diocesan level.
I’m opening the door to LGBTQI+ Catholics through creating safe places to worship.
Thank you. This discussion of injustice by institutional sins is worthy and groundbreaking in our church and society. This allows us to sit with the questions and pray for response.
Here in Spain we have to attend black people, arab people, people from Ucraine. And many other men and women. The question is all this people enter in Europe? Remember the war of Siria, so many refugee, now the war of Ucraine. Last war in Europe, even some people from Spain went to Ucraine to find people to help.
In Austria it is the homeless. We do not want to see people living in the streets, when everyone has enough to live on and no one need go hungry. While that is true for Austrian citizens, the reality for migrants is that without paid employment you have no money to pay rent, or even to buy food once the money from your last job is all used up. There is no unemployment benefit if you haven’t worked for six months. There is no accommodation allowance, no health insurance, no social handouts, no pension if you are not a permanent resident and have not earnt enough. For the real poor there is nothing except what caring people and the Missionaries of Charity provide for the homeless. So periodically the police clear out those living in tents in our cities, or those spending the night at train stations. They are put in prison out of sight out of mind. Prisons are full of migrants who are there either because they have no home or have been forced to turn to crime to feed their families. Together with the Missionaries of Charity the homeless are offered food, invited in for a meal, the Gospel is read and people invited to reflect on it. In this way a few hundred of the unwanted ones are nourished both physically and spiritually.
Reading this, I began picturing all of our black brothers and sisters who are beginning to shine for all to see and to be appreciated for the beautiful gifts they are to our world. We have so much to learn from them. Thank you, Lord, for enlightening us that we may see!!
We are in tune as I begin to teach my 5th graders this week about 6 Black Americans on the journey towards sainthood. May we all open our eyes!!
The Roman Catholic Church should include anti-Black racism as a mortal sin. It should stop closing its schools in predominately Black, financially struggling communities.
The picture of the items in the spare room was as eye-opening for me as the answer you provided for “When did I not see you?” When some people seek help, where can they access the over-abundance that others have?
I read the Lenten observance and the questions perplexed me. I don’t have a way to open the door to the spare bedroom and find the comments showing the way to be too general as to be worthwhile for me. In addition, I am 78 and wonder what I can possibly do to open the door to the spare bedroom?
Mr. Koncel, I often become frustrated because I don’t have a lot of money and often cannot do great things. But I can donate to the local food banks, I can attend programs on Black History in my community. I can patronize the pancake breakfast at my local Black Baptist church. I can support local programs and organizations that work for racial justice in whatever way I am able.
I’m elderly and personally I don’t feel forgotten. But, I know there are many elderly who are forgotten, whether it’s financial issues, living unvisited in a nursing home, physical limitations, or whatever the circumstances are, are overlooked by our society. Elderly people still have a lot to offer in wisdom and even some are fun to be around.
Black, brown, yellow, and white are all precious people.
Absolutely agree! Dr, Coehlo, you have it right! There needs to be a greater focus on ALL God’s children! It appears that, focusing on particular groups who “ stir the pot”, the segregation agenda is advanced and further discord is the outcome. It’s a javelin affect in that one may become tired of being accused of being prejudiced. This may not sit well with the protagonists but what the heck. We are all offspring of immigrants who worked hard and contributed toward a better life! And, how ‘ bout the great American Indian tribes who we have treated abominably?
By the way, I’m the great granddaughter of an abolitionist who emigrated from England and helped the Underground Railroad. Also, grandmother who emigrated from Ireland at age 19.
My profession was Social Work so I have worked in the vineyard. Unfortunately, all this nonsense we’re experiencing now is disruptive of dialogue and seems to be focused one way.
In my own Paris I think it is the shut-ins,those who are no longer able to come to Mass on a regular basis for a variety of reasons. I experienced this myself when, because of the effects of long term Covid, I was not able to attend Mass. it was as though I no longer was a parish member. While I was brought the Eucharist when I called, I also wanted to know about the life of the parish.I fell into a deep depression as the effects of Covid lasted for more than a year. If a parish member or the pastor had called periodically or visited occasionally it would have made a huge difference. It’s so important to let parish members who can not participate actively in parish life know that they are still in the thoughts and prayers of the parish.
The elderly, the aged, the “shut-ins” are forgotten in our church and our society.
I am so proud of my nephew who “opened up his spare room” to a friend of his. Son whose mother` died by suicide.
The mentally ill are also the forgotten in our community.
Thank you for this challenging reflection. I have been making suggestions to the pastor at my parish and the pastor at another parish where I attend Mass based on my work schedule. Mostly, I ask that we make the Prayers of the Faithful more meaningful by actually addressing specific issues and how we can be strengthened in our call to work for justice. While I have become frustrated because I have been politely dismissed (I am a senior citizen and not s big donor), this reflection today encourages me not to give up and to find the places where I can carry and carry on this message. Thank you.
I highly recommend the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson(also a film.)