Across the globe, many are struggling with how to respond to the refugees arriving within their borders.
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. Like the blind man, they seek a better life in which they can feed their families and live without fear or discrimination.
Although many people and organizations seek to provide humanitarian care to the stranger among us, refugees are often in danger of not receiving the protection and human dignity they deserve as God’s children.
In today’s Gospel reading the Pharisees criticize Jesus for working on the Sabbath while, at the same time, ignoring the blind man’s deep suffering and Jesus’ healing miracle.
So, we may ask ourselves: Who is truly blind? Is it the man who was not able to see since his birth or the leaders of the establishment who have no vision, no compassion?
In the spiritual tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for the grace of divine sight — sight that would allow you to witness and empathize with those who experience gross inequality.
May your charitable work this Lenten season include advocating for those in most need of mercy and healing. Call upon the leaders of your city, state and nation. Beg them “to see” the injustice of laws that cause or perpetuate suffering.
May God’s grace be visible through you as you rise up in support of the most vulnerable in our midst.
As Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, Sister Norma Pimentel oversees the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, providing oversight of various programs: emergency assistance, clinical counseling, housing assistance, pregnancy care and military assistance. In the summer of 2014 she organized the community resources responding to the surge of refugees seeking asylum in the United States. The Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, TX and its countless volunteers from the around the country have welcomed more than 71,000 individuals from 31 countries. Sister Norma Pimentel earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and graduate degrees in theology and counseling psychology.
Como Directora Ejecutiva de las Caridades Católicas del Valle del Río Grande, la Hermana Norma Pimentel supervisa el brazo caritativo de la Diócesis de Brownsville, supervisando varios programas: asistencia de emergencia, consejería clínica, asistencia en vivienda, atención de embarazo y asistencia militar. En el verano de 2014 organizó los recursos comunitarios que respondían a la oleada de refugiados que buscaban asilo en los Estados Unidos. “The Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen” en McAllen, TX y sus innumerables voluntarios de todo el país han recibido a más de 71,000 personas de 31 países. La hermana Norma Pimentel obtuvo una licenciatura en artes y postgrados en psicología y teología.