What Do You Hunger For?

What Do You Hunger For?

Sunday’s Readings

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Jesus offers us his body and blood in the Eucharist that feeds us, strengthens us, and welcomes us into eternal life. We celebrate this gift today, on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

We all have our hungers. In my ministry on the U.S.-Mexico border, hunger constantly accompanies migrants on their journey and during their wait in northern Mexico. Tengo hambre!” (“I’m hungry”), a four-year-old boy kept repeating to us one day in a camp of migrants in Matamoros, Mexico. Families like his are spread out along the bank of the Rio Grande River, living in tents made of cardboard and other repurposed materials. They enter a daily lottery through a smartphone app to get access to the U.S. Without a kitchen or stove, migrants in the camp are cooking over fire, making meager rations of tortillas and arepas to feed their families. They hunger for food.

When we visit the camp twice a week as Jesuit priests, we set up an altar on a borrowed table, or sometimes just a wooden board placed on top of buckets. We come to celebrate Mass, right in the middle of the makeshift camp. A single mother with two children will draw near and instruct her kids to fold their hands and pay attention. As people gather around, standing in whatever shade they can find, it’s clear to see another hunger. They come to join in the celebration of the Eucharist because along with their hunger for food, they also hunger for the bread of life. It is so often their faith that helps to sustain them and give them hope in the midst of such deplorable conditions and an indefinite wait. They hunger for God’s grace.What Do You Hunger For?After making regular visits to migrant camps, hearing the stories of trauma, and seeing the conditions that people are living in, I too hunger. I hunger for justice. For reform to our broken immigration system that offers few pathways for entry into our country for the poor and suffering. For a more robust humanitarian response to the needs of men, women, and children who are subject to inhumane living conditions. For an opening of hearts and minds in the United States to see migrants not as threats and dangers, but as brothers and sisters. I hunger for justice.

We must always be grateful when we have food on our plate and regular access to the Eucharist. This is not the reality for many people, including so many migrants. Fed by the body and blood of Christ, our faith should compel us forward. We must feel the hunger pangs in the midst of injustice, rise up, and work together for justice.

For Reflection:

  • What do you hunger for?
  • How can you attend to the hunger of others?
5 replies
  1. Hector
    Hector says:

    Hola P. Brian.
    Muchas gracias por la labor que está realizando en las fronteras de Estados Unidos y México. Trabajo aquí en Álava, País Vasco, España con migrantes en su mayoría que vienen de Marruecos y diferentes países de África. Las personas migrantes llenan en nosotros el hambre y la búsqueda de la presencia de Dios en nuestra vida, a Dios gracia. La pregunta es cómo seguir construyendo espacios de solidaridad en medio de tantos gobiernos y países que se cierran a tanta necesidad.
    Muchas gracias.


    This spoke to me so deeply, thank you for these words. May God bless you and help all who seek Him and help us bring hope and justice to the world. Amen.

  3. Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    Father Brian makes some excellent points about being hungry for justice. For many of us that justice has been taken care of, but for many it has not been ammeliorated. I was taking a LYFT to another Church with the driver being from Ecuador. We were talking about an accident and he told me that if he got in an accident, there would no one for him to call. He told me that his Mother had raised him Catholic and he wants to be part of the Church. I invited him to come to Church and I told him the hours for Mass but that he could stop in any time. He was grateful as it was comforting to him to be Catholic and it would please him and his Mother if he followed the tradition and rules of Catholicism. At the end of the ride he thanked me for the conversation and will take time for some conversation with God. Justice is slow and often reaches one person at a time. .

  4. sonja
    sonja says:

    I too hunger for justice. The right to work when I receive no pension and no other form of income. The wheels of bureaucracy are slow to turn. Migrants it seems are denied their rights, no matter which country they happen to find themselves in. It is not just a matter of being granted permission to live in a country, how does one feed oneself physically and spiritually without any income? The west seems to think that their government looks after their people. The reality is it only provides for its own citizens. Migrants are not included in the basic human rights of the country. I too hunger for justice.
    There are migrants all over the world who hunger for justice, for the right to work and be able to support their own families. No one wants handouts. The likelihood of getting justice has become even more remote since 2020, at least in Europe and western nations, if not the whole world.

  5. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Preparing people to live well in heaven and to live well on earth are important missions. Church is yet to do justice to its enormous potential on the twin-fronts.


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