In the first reading today (Exodus 32:7-14)God is angry with the Jewish people for worshiping false gods. They abandoned God after he had freed them from slavery in Egypt, and now were making idols of calves and bulls to worship.
Moses pleads with God to remember his commitment to care for the people, and asks God to forgive them. God relents and the people return to worship and serve the true God and follow his paths of justice.
In the 19th century the Spanish who had conquered Mexico continued exploiting the Mexican people. They were adoring the false god of money, despoiling the country, and oppressing the people. They took their land and exported the wealth to Europe. God heard the cry of the Mexican people as they liberated themselves and became independent. It was a costly struggle, as heroes such as Miguel Hidalgo and Jose Maria Morelos and thousands more lost their lives fighting for the cause. They gave their lives for others so that they might be free from oppression.
Jesus himself spoke of the need to be committed to building his kingdom of justice, peace, and love. He said that anyone who wanted to be his disciple had to take up the cross and follow him. He himself remained faithful to his mission in the face of criticism and threats. In the end, he accepted death, a death that brought new life now and forever.
Today the people of Mexico continue to struggle for true freedom, justice and peace. On the one hand, there still is much corruption at all levels of government. Many people have lost faith in their political leaders. In fact, anyone who enters politics becomes suspect of trying to get rich from the hands of the people. For many the concept of service hardly exists in the political arena.
Mexicans are also facing tremendous abuse, such as kidnappings, threats of physical harm, and extortion from gangs and vandals. Innocent families live in fear and are forced to pay enormous sums of money to free kidnapped family members or avoid harm to their businesses or homes. Criminality runs freely in the streets and the courts do little to protect the innocent.
Despite considerable economic growth the country still faces serious economic challenges such as high unemployment, low wages, and exploitation on the job. Teachers and public transit workers are constantly protesting their low pay and lack of benefits.
In addition, many immigrants in Mexico, particularly from Central America, suffer intimidation, physical abuse, theft, and even imprisonment, sometimes because of authorities. Many immigrants are even murdered by drug traffickers.
Many Mexicans still have little access to good education, especially higher education. Schools are underfunded and many people cannot afford to enroll in the better schools. In the face of all these problems we lift up our prayers for Mexico and its people. We pray for justice and peace and that leaders come forth to offer hope to people, as did the heroes and heroines of independence.
Mexicans in the United States
Many Mexicans have emigrated to the United States. In fact, soon half the Catholics in the U.S. will be Latinos. In our communities we need leaders to step forward to serve the community. These leaders must be dedicated, honest, responsible, hardworking, and service oriented in order to gain the trust of the people and lead them toward a society based on peace, justice and love.
At St. Pius V we try to develop leaders for our community. We encourage anyone who wants to grow as a person and serve others to contact Fr. Chuck about opportunities to take classes in Christian leadership.
This post is also available in: Spanish