Contributors Do unto others

We neglect our remote neighbors at our own peril

Deacon Scholl is the archdiocesan consultant for social justice. You can email him at:

by Deacon Bill Scholl

This Ash Wednesday, our community’s jubilation ended in tragedy when shots were fired at the Chiefs parade. 

One Catholic mother was murdered, a score  of mostly children were shot and thousands were traumatized by the senseless violence of a few. 

We all felt the pain, and in feeling it, perceived just how connected our lives are to one another, our solidarity made certain by the experience. 

Personally, I hurt for everybody and in this hurting, thought about all innocent people throughout the world who are undergoing such hurts: civilians bombed in Ukraine, children maimed in Gaza, families gunned down in the Sahel region of Africa. How must our community’s pain pale in comparison to theirs? How must the heart of Christ hurt over all this bloodshed?

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those whose spirit is crushed” (Ps 34:19). 

As Catholics, we have an opportunity this Lent to support our Lord’s efforts to save those whose spirit has been crushed by violence all across the world by giving to the Catholic Relief Services’ Rice Bowl collection.

Present in over 100 countries, CRS is the U.S.  church’s global solidarity mission of disaster relief and aid to communities ravaged by war, natural disaster and lack of development.  Ninety percent of their in-country staff are indigenous to the community and work closely with the local bishops. 

Consequently, CRS is able to get aid to the people directly, when other NGOs fail. This suppleness of subsidiarity has been especially effective in helping refugees in Gaza, as CRS has been able to send cash assistance to the Sister Missionaries of Charity who have been sheltering displaced mothers and children. 

As Catholics, we can take hope from the fact that wherever in the world there is war and violence, CRS is already there, implementing a plan to protect, help and restore its victims.

For our city, this Lent began with the shattering of the illusion that we are unconnected to each other and insulated from violence. In the face of such senseless destruction, we can be tempted to lose hope and seek the false security of isolating ourselves even more.  We have learned that we neglect our remote neighbors at our own peril. Christ shows us the remedy to all violence with his invitation to take up our cross. 

So this Lent, as we fast, let us feel the hunger of the millions who are food insecure. As we pray, let us pray for the heart of Christ that hurts for all victims of violence. And as we give alms, let us support CRS through the Rice Bowl collection, because we now know a little bit more how it feels.

About the author

Deacon Bill Scholl

Leave a Comment