“I thirst!” This cry of the dying Christ is on the parched lips of millions of people in our world today. Half a million people die every year from polluted water, and two out of six people still have to carry home the water they use. Pope Francis comments on this crisis in his recent encyclical: “Our world has a grave social debt
towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to life consistent with their inalienable dignity” (Laudato Si 30).
The corporal work of mercy to give drink to the thirsty is even more fundamental than giving food to the hungry, because water is a more basic necessity than food. We have a duty to educate ourselves about the need for water in other parts of the world and help sponsor programs that build the infrastructure in developing countries if we
We should also be aware that it is not only in far distant lands that people are denied water: in some hospitals water and basic nutrition are withheld from terminally ill patients or those in a coma. This is a great moral evil, and we must raise our voices in witness to the inherent dignity of every human being until the end of natural life.
Given the standard of living in our country it is unlikely that we will encounter someone who is dying of thirst. However, we can link this work of mercy to the one preceding (give food to the hungry) and the one following (clothe the naked) and see that these works of mercy urge us to help our neighbors, whatever their basic needs are.
“Father Steve, have you heard about the Rohingya refugees?” This question was asked of me this past week. While I have heard news reports on what is widely considered the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis, parishioner Jim has found that many are unaware, although the situation is by no means new. As World Refugee Day is observed, on Wednesday of this week, June 20, I urge parishioners to pledge to increase our awareness of this and many other situations of mass refugees (one article source is www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41566561).
Also, I offer this statement from our Holy Father, Pope Francis:
Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are women, children and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more.