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The Cry of the Poor, The Blood of the Poor

Fr. Joseph Nassal, C.PP.S

The blood of the poor stops at our door. The prophet Isaiah says to us today as we spread our hands in prayer and raise our voices in praise: "Your hands are full of blood." Whose blood?

--the blood of men, women, and children martyred in Central America;

--the blood of South African blacks yearning for freedom;

--the blood of the homeless sleeping in the streets of St. Louis;

--the blood of the AIDS victim dying alone because of our fear;

--the blood of the migrant worker who labors for low wages and risks his
life because of pesticides that poison his system;

--the blood of the children who seek sanctuary in our hearts and homes;

--the blood of the young mother who cradles her child as she shuffles
slowly through the soup kitchen line;

--the blood of the worker locked out of the factory;

--the blood of the farmer exiled from his land, his life.

Their blood is on our hands. Their blood stains our apathy and colors our indifference. Isaiah commands us to wash their blood from our hands, not to remove responsibility in a Pilate-like act of cowardice; but to wash away our inactivity in a Christ-like act of courage: "Cease doing evil, learn to do justice, correct oppression, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow."

These are the helpless and outcasts; the oppressed and injured; the neglected and abandoned; the forgotten and unforgiven. These are the ones to whom we are sent. The blood of the poor leaves a trail to our door. Their blood stops here.

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