The Psalm refrain today echoes the plea of so many of our brothers and sisters today.
Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
We can imagine for ourselves and for people across the globe crying out, pleading, “We long to see your face, O God!” Hear the cry of parents losing children in seemingly random attacks in bars, schools, concerts, places of worship, the workplace or a Walmart, only to hear that nothing can be done to help stop it.
Hear the cries of those forced to abandon their homes and homelands because of war and unfettered violence, only for those cries to fall on deaf ears as they search for safety.
Hear the anguish in the voices of those who tell their stories of abuse in the church and the workplace, only to be told they are not credible and ought to remain silent.
I often think about the blind beggar Bartimaeus sitting by the side of the road. He hears that Jesus is passing by and calls out to him. Only there are others who tell him to be silent. But he cries out all the louder, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” His voice will not be silenced. Nor shall the voices today that cry out for mercy. Jesus does hear the cry of the poor.
We cannot allow our own voices to join the chorus of other voices telling those who are suffering that they should be silent. We cannot turn a deaf ear to those calling out for justice. We cannot ignore the pain of those who have been wronged. They long to see the face of God. That face of mercy is our face, our hands, and our words that will reveal God’s love to those most in need.
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and was the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.