Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection is from Senior Writer/Editor Larry Livingston.
Father Jim O’Toole was a longtime preacher for Unbound. He passed away last year. Father Jim loved the people of Guatemala and he often visited that country. In a 2007 homily, he shared a story from one of those trips.
“In San Lucas Toliman, I went over to the church one day,” he said. “There was a very young couple holding their baby, and they said, ‘Father, please pray. Our baby is very sick.’ I anointed the baby with oil. I sprinkled the baby with holy water. I prayed. I did everything I could.
“A few moments later I saw that couple kneeling in front of the altar, and the papa was holding that baby up to God as high as he could, praying that God would send a cure.”
Watching the innocent and vulnerable suffer is hard. Some people turn away from it. Others are content to feel helpless in the face of it. And some act.
Father Jim was passionate about helping people understand that we are instruments of God’s love and mercy in the world. He often referenced the “sheep and goats” parable from Matthew 25:31-46, where Jesus said that what we do for the least powerful and most marginalized of our sisters and brothers, we do for him. Father Jim saw Unbound sponsorship as a way to serve Christ by serving others.
We don’t know the rest of the story of that young couple and their baby in Guatemala. We do know that with the choices provided through Unbound sponsorship, many families in poverty are able to access essential health care. That is an incredible blessing.
Loving God, grace us with awareness and resolve, that we may be agents of your love and healing in our world today. Give us the courage not to divert our eyes from suffering and injustice but be moved to act in the face of it. May we trust always in your help and may those in need be able to trust in ours. We ask this in your most holy name. Amen.