I continue to run into misguided people who, after hearing about unspeakable crimes against young women and children, can only wonder “how can they afford to come to the USA?”. They speak as if the ability to raise $5000 to save your child’s life means you are not impoverished. They speak as if savage violence and rape are not good enough reasons to send your child to a safer place; you have to be penniless as well. They speak about the lack of space and money to absorb the children in this wealthiest of countries. They would do well to think before they speak. Better yet, they, like me, should learn to always pray before they speak.
Anyway, in mass yesterday, I was contemplating my time here on the border and the fact that it will be ending soon. As the array of scared, wounded children I have met flashed through my mind, the gospel was read by a blind deacon. The subsequent homily was delivered by a local priest who had just been released from the hospital after a kidney transplant. Both men were giving all they had toward the hastening of the Kingdom. Coincidentally, yesterday’s gospel was about the loaves and fishes. You know the one, Jesus is sorrowful at the death of John the Baptist. He goes to the beach and thousands follow Him. It gets late and everyone is hungry. The apostles want to send the folks away because they think they have insufficient resources to feed everyone. Jesus gets a little ticked and He says, (and I paraphrase) “Look, this is how it works. Share what you have, trust me and I will multiply your gifts into abundance.” You know how it ends: everyone eats plenty and there are overflowing baskets left over.
My immediate thought was of those who focus on money and worry that we do not have enough resources to care for these scared, alone and victimized children. These citizens want to send the kids back into the burning building because they fear they will not get their self appointed, entitled portion. The citizens do not see that all is gift and we must let go to allow the Spirit to work.
After I pointed the finger outward, I directed it to me. It seemed only fair. I had to question, have I given all I can? Are there things that I can still do that God will multiply for these kids? It is easy to point out the short comings of the sign wavers, bus stoppers and racists but when I focus on them, I do exactly what I disdain about the press. I make the negative opinion seem more prevalent and powerful than it is.
So, I asked Jesus, what have I withheld? Do I speak often enough about the plight of the kids in the grocery store or to other casual acquaintances? Or do I only speak boldly when I am with people known to agree with me? Will I take the August recess as a chance to further the kids’ cause with my elected officials and friends? Is there something more I can do? I want to give everything I have so that it may be multiplied for the sake of His kingdom.
I decided that, in today’s terms, Jesus says in this gospel : Throw all in, believe in MY abilities and just watch how I roll. Isn’t that exciting?!
And get this: After mass and after me, Bonnie, Phylis, and Margaret organized all the checks that had been donated for the kids, it was time to shop. On Thursday, I had asked Norma (of CC) what needs were still outstanding. She had provided me with a list of things. We needed small female shoes, (sz. 5,6, 7) and small sized jeans and bras. (Central American women aren’t USA sized women). They also needed all sizes of hoodies and stadium blankets for the cold bus stations.
We went to Kmart with all the money. Lo and behold, we found that shoes and hoodies were on sale, 2 for the price of 1! Sherpa throws were on sale for 10 bucks. BOOM! In the end, we purchased three shopping carts, loaded to the gills. (get it?) And we had money left over for some trac phones.
Many folks threw in, we believed Jesus would work through us and once again, our baskets overflowed. That’s how He rolls. Thanks to all the generous benefactors who allowed the Spirit to move you!
I recalled, when I met with the Congressional delegation that came here 2 Fridays ago, Rep. Carter approached me after I spoke. He placed a pin in my hand. He said he wanted me to have it. It read: “God is Good … all the time”.
So what more can we do? Will you embrace the boldness of true charity? Isn’t it exciting to wonder how He will multiply it?
Perhaps we can hold accountable those who voted for those horrible anti immigrant bills on Friday. As you may know, the House, in partisan fashion, voted before they left for August recess to send back the Central American children who are fleeing unspeakable violence; to repeal much of the DACA executive action that which protects young people who were brought here as children; and to block the President from taking much-needed executive action.
We know the Senate will stop this anti-immigrant legislation from going forward but shouldn’t we let our Congress know that this kind of legislation is inhumane, un-Christian and un American ?