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Can we hear the cry of the poor?

By Sister Lucille Martinez, OLVM

On June 27 before Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, crossed the border of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, he made a statement that cuts to the depth of our hearts, unless we also count ourselves among those who suffer “from a life-threatening case of hardening of the heart.” In his statement Bishop Seitz questions the state of the soul of our country if we as members of our society close our eyes to what we see and hear on television and read in our newspapers and smart phones on a daily basis.

I was privileged to assist our brothers and sisters who are fleeing from their countries because of violence, poverty and inhumane conditions. I spent one month working under the auspices of Annunciation House in El Paso, a place of refuge and welcome for persons who come to our southern border seeking refuge in a country they hoped would provide them opportunities to better their lives and the lives of their children.

It has been almost 6 months since I was in El Paso but it seems that the situation for our brothers and sisters at the southern border has worsened since I was there. Why is this happening in a country who has prided itself to be a land of immigrants, where everyone has a right to life, liberty and justice? Because we have decided that these aliens and illegals are not our neighbors. They have no right to save their children from violence or malnutrition. They have no right to a job or to support their families. They have no right to reunite with family.

We can see plainly that this government and this society are not well. We definitely suffer from a life-threatening case of hardening of the heart. Bishop Seitz goes on to say in his statement: “We Americans need our hearts checked. Our hearts have grown too cold and too hard and that bodes ill for the health of our nation.” He goes further to ask if in this America of today, is there no Golden Rule? Have we forgotten the lessons of Scripture? Have we forgotten the commandment to love? Have we forgotten God?

For those of us who still believe that God is among us, we believe that God comes to us in the stranger, the alien, the illegal. Can we hear the cry of the poor?

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