In the midst of the turbulent realities of our world, how can we daily rise up to address injustice?

Throughout Lent 2017, we hear from voices from the Ignatian network engaged in work for racial equality, criminal justice, alleviation of poverty, and environmental justice.

We seek to understand one another’s stories, to individually and collectively rise up to engage in the work of building a more just and peaceful world.

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Holy Saturday: To Push Against Fear

To push against fear requires that we do the work to dismantle the systems around us: the ones that require the exploitation of some in order to guarantee the security of others. It means building bridges where others are attempting to erect walls.

Palm Sunday: The Kingdom of God

Throughout history, multitudes of people have been abused by dominative power, whether by royalty, armies, dictators, religious practices or more recently, multi-national corporations and the effects of neo-liberal globalization.

Day 38: Solidarity of Presence

Every 10 days or so during the summer, my maternal grandmother took a long walk to her nearest neighbors. Leaving her stark yet beautiful North Dakota farmstead, Lottie would amble along the hills cresting the Sheyenne River valley and carefully descend the sloping gullies and cow paths to the Roberts’ farm.

Day 37: Radical Hospitality

While the rest of the world seems to move towards division and hierarchy, our community strives to challenge that notion through one daily act: dinner.

Day 36: The Truth Will Make You Free

However, while there is a great deal of truth that students can uncover with the assistance of the university’s library, today’s Gospel reading encourages us all to seek higher truth, the truth that Jesus offers through his teachings and his life.

Day 34: Boldly Challenging Injustice

The readings for today are stories – one from the Old Testament and one about Jesus, who loved to teach in parables. Jesus and Daniel both stand up to the powerful and challenge injustice – here specifically against women.

Day 32: The Dissenting Voices

We hear of Jesus’ crucifixion so often that we are tempted to think there was unshakable unanimity amongst the leaders of Jesus’ day that he was a threat to the power structure and must be arrested. Yet today’s readings remind us that there were dissenting voices.

Day 31: With Whom Do You Stand?

At this very moment people who claim to be Christian are heaping hatred and violence upon the poor, homeless, sick, elderly, people of color, refugees, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender, and Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters. Jesus stands with them.

Day 30: A Drop of Change

The complexities of today’s environmental injustices and the interconnectivity of them to all things and people, rich to poor, reveals an imperative call to action.

Day 29: Shadows

As an Undocumented immigrant, I have felt the loneliness, fear, and sadness that this status has placed on my person. Many of us have used this darkness as a tool for our own protection, but during these unpredictable times, we, immigrants and refugees, must act and face the light.

Day 28: Mni Wiconi, Water is Life

While our ancestors were keenly aware of their dependence on Mother Earth, in the United States today many people, sadly, have become disconnected from their water source, land, and, ultimately, a sense of place and belonging.

Day 27: Your Son Will Live

“Your son will live.” I hear these words with some disbelief, thinking of our Grandmother the Earth, callously and consistently condemned to death with policies and projects that prioritize profit over sustainable life.

Day 26: Who is Truly Blind?

Daily, I see the suffering of immigrant families fleeing violence and poverty. Much like the man born blind in John’s Gospel, these people were born into economic and social hardships they did not choose.

¿Quién es verdaderamente ciego?

Al igual que el hombre nacido ciego en el Evangelio de Juan, estas personas nacieron en dificultades económicas y sociales que no eligieron. Al igual que el ciego, buscan una vida mejor en la que puedan alimentar a sus familias y vivir sin temor ni discriminación.

Day 25: I Come to Do Your Will

In the face of uncertainty, whether it be from unjust systems or medical ordeals, Mary is a worthy model. Even in the moments when our very being is shouting out that we must rest, hide, or quit, we are called to be like Mary….to rise up, to commit to the long work of justice and healing, even in the face of our own insecurities, fears, and fatigue.

Day 24: Love Your Neighbor

Our neighbors are all around us – living right next door; sleeping on the streets without food and shelter; working two jobs to support family; laughing on the outside but struggling on the inside; working in the warehouse down the street; fleeing violence overseas for a safer home here.

Day 23: Tend and Till the Earth

Christ took bread and wine, fruits of the earth, in his hands and blessed them. That same encounter should move us to obedience in taking up our ecological cross in solidarity with creation, one another, and the poor.

Day 22: The Truth

The truth is the truth no matter who chooses to believe it or speak it; it remains the truth. Injustice must not be forgotten, we must remember that we are a broken society that needs healing, and we cannot be distracted by the fanfare or the rhetoric of those that use it to distract us from the real work at hand.

Day 21: Break Down the Walls

When I remember that these girls are teenagers, just as I was a couple of years ago, but teenagers whose childhoods have been vastly different than mine was, with hardships including communities troubled with gang violence, institutionalized racism, food insecurity, trafficking, and homelessness (to name a few), it makes it much easier to offer that forgiveness.

Day 20: Lessons From a Woodworker

The waste of consumption overwhelmingly falls onto the poor. Trash and waste disposal preys on the poor with environmental classism. Climate change further entrenches systemic racism. My consumption creates someone else’s scarcity.

Day 19: Thirst

In our political discourse today, rhetoric is being used to demean and dehumanize peoples and cultures. Today’s gospel gives us renewed resolve to follow Jesus who broke through the barriers of his day to encounter, to seek out, to engage with, to welcome, and to be in solidarity with others.

Day 18: We Belong to Each Other

The prodigal son realizes his total dependence on those whose humanity he refused to recognize. Will we be brave enough to begin to dismantle the institutionalized racism that we have built, and join the party?

Day 16: A Right to Hope

Shouldn’t everyone have a right to hope, a right to believe that God will take care of them in the places where they try to plant themselves anew?

Day 15: Downward Mobility

She is not distracted by the idea of upward mobility, rather focuses on serving those most vulnerable her community. This freedom of spirit has allowed her to master the art of loving and, over the years, she has become an expert.

Movilidad Descendente

En el Evangelio de hoy, Jesús está tratando de hacer que los discípulos imaginen una manera diferente de ser en el mundo, una manera que priorice el amor y el servicio más que el prestigio y el poder. El difunto Dean Brackley, SJ se refirió a este cambio como la búsqueda de "movilidad descendente."

Day 14: To Behold

This approach of beholding, appreciating, and praising in the bleak of winter gives us strength year round to engage in the slow work of social and environmental justice, knowing deep within what we are protecting: the innate loveliness of the world.

Day 13: Let Us Give Life

Sin is not a private transaction: we are all part of webs of interdependence that push and pull migrants across borders or degrade the planet, leaving none of us with clean hands.

Day 12: “Rise and do not be afraid.”

Today, let’s rise, let go of fear, and engage face-to-face with someone living on the margins—be it the woman or man experiencing homelessness, the addict who now lives in isolation, or the immigrant without papers who now lives in fear.

Day 11: Love Your Enemies

Among Christians committed to social justice, “love your enemies” is a popular saying, for we know it is central to the way of discipleship. But perhaps it has become a little too easy to rattle off.

Day 10: The Legacy of the Auction Block

Jesus illustrates that words without action are the height of hypocrisy (Mt. 5:20-6). Action is white folks living in a way that prioritizes black and brown lives over their feelings of white guilt or shame or fear.

Day 9: The American Dream

It is our duty as Americans to form a proper Dream. Through our faith, actions, and prayer we have the ability to empower our community through the Gospel. We have the ability to show the love of God and provide for those in need.

Day 8: Ecological Conversion

Our society, driven by a “throwaway culture,” discards not only things but people as “leftovers,” whether it is the poor and vulnerable who suffer most from climate change or indigenous peoples who have been displaced from their lands or seen their water contaminated due to an economic system that prioritizes profit over people and the common good.

Day 6: A Culture of Care

The Pope’s call to practice social and political love and today’s Gospel go to the heart and soul of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Contributors Include:

Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ

Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ

Founder and Director, Homeboy Industries

The Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J. entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1972 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1984. He holds degrees from Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University, Weston School of Theology, and Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley.

In the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Fr. Boyle was involved in the launch Homeboy Bakery. In 2001, the business became an independent nonprofit organization, Homeboy Industries.

Today, Homeboy Industries employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises, as well as provides critical services to 15,000 men and women every year. It is the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world.

Father Boyle is the author of the New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion and is the subject of Academy Award winner Freida Lee Mock’s 2012 documentary, G-Dog.

Fr. Gregory C. Chisholm, SJ

Fr. Gregory C. Chisholm, SJ

Pastor, St. Charles Borromeo

Fr. Gregory C. Chisholm, SJ, a native of New York City, is honored to have lived his life in service as Pastor to several African American and Latino communities in Harlem, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Oakland. He currently serves as pastor of the Church of St. Charles Borromeo in Harlem.

His focused interests include theologies of liberation and the history of black Catholics.

He serves on the governing boards of Cristo Rey New York High School and Xavier High School. Fr. Chisholm is a 4th degree members of the Knights of St. Peter Claver.

Fr. Chisholm presided at liturgy at the 2016 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice.

Sr. Norma Pimentel

Sr. Norma Pimentel

Executive Director, Catholic Charities, Rio Grande Valley

Norma Pimentel is a Sister with the Missionaries of Jesus. As Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley for over 12 years, she oversees the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, providing oversight of the different ministries & services in the areas of the Rio Grande Valley through emergency assistance, homelessness prevention, disaster relief, clinical counseling, pregnancy care, food program(s), and the Humanitarian Respite Center.

In September 2015, Pope Francis recognized Sr. Norma for her work with immigrants.. He thanked her for her humility and her efforts and encouraged her to continue.

Sr. Norma has earned degrees from Pan American University, St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and Loyola University in Chicago.

Kristen Trudo

Kristen Trudo

Community Engagement Coordinator, La Salle Middle School

Kristen Trudo is a currently the Community Engagement Coordinator at La Salle Middle School, a public charter in St. Louis, while also employed by Rise Coffee House, a St. Louis business committed to social justice.

Trudo is an emerging leader in the Ignatian family, challenging oppressive structures in predominantly white organizations. Since graduating from Loyola Marymount University (’14) and moving to St. Louis as a Jesuit Volunteer, Kristen has been challenged to think about the ways she is privileged, and not; and inspired to write about black liberation, violence against LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals, and the complicity and responsibility of the Catholic Church in the oppression of these groups. Kristen hopes to continue writing and finding her place in the work to dismantle systemic oppression, especially as it related to the liberation of black lives.

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