Do you get sick time? When you’re ill, are you able to take time off from work?
Like many underemployed people, I don’t get paid sick time – but I am allowed to make up the time if I have to take a sick day, so I don’t lose pay. It’s not perfect, but at times like this morning when I felt ill at work, I’m able to go home and rest, knowing that my coworkers at the nursing home will cover me, and that I can make up the time by going in early and staying late over the next couple of weeks.
Not so our friends in the migrant ministry. Capo called at nine tonight, saying they had just got home. He’s been sick since last week, and just worked a thirteen and a half hour day, on his feet all day, while sick. “It’s okay,” he said. But it’s not okay.
This past Sunday we heard about Jesus turning over the money changers tables in the temple. The system in the temple, like so many systems, weighed heavy on the poor. Some tried to address the problem by such methods as limiting the amount that could be charged for a dove – the sacrifice most used by the poor. Jesus, however, saw the big picture. The whole system had to go. I understand his anger.
Dorothy Day said, “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.” We have a filthy, rotten system that’s putting food on our tables. How are we going to turn over the tables and create a more just system?
It’s easy to forget about farm workers. They live way out in the country, isolated in little shacks that you could drive by without noticing. I grew up in this area – in farm country, Hilton – and yet in the past year I’ve been visiting places I never even heard of. Elba, Stafford, Clarendon – the food we eat is grown in places like these, planted and tended and picked by hidden hands, washed and packaged by people standing up working ten and twelve hour days, earning so little it would make you cry. There is something profoundly wrong with this system.
I wish I could end this bulletin with some action we could do that would turn over those tables and bring about transformation. There are things we can do, letters we can write, marches we can participate in. But I think the first thing is just starting to care. Starting to get mad. Let’s get set on fire and heal this filthy, rotten system. Those are our brothers and sisters out there, growing and picking and packing that food. Let’s get set on fire with love and get to work bringing healing.
Blessings and love to all,
Join us for a special commemorative Mass and Pot luck lunch for the 32nd anniversary of the martyrdom of our own Saint, Oscar Romero, on Sunday, March 25, 11 am at St Joe’s.
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620