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When Did We See You Thirsty?

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Greg-Kep-smallBy Gregory Kepferle, CEO
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County

Have you ever been truly thirsty? Maybe, like me, you have felt the dizzying parching ache of thirst after working in the hot sun, or going on a steep hike or a run without taking enough water. You know that pain. Now imagine millions who experience that day after day.

Who could have imagined that outside of a natural disaster, that all the people in an entire city would be thirsty? Yet today, the people of Flint, Michigan, are thirsty for safe clean drinking water, as are many millions of people in villages in developing countries around the globe. In the midst of California’s four-year drought, we have seen images of neighborhoods in the Central Valley relying on portable showers and water trucks as their aquifers have dried up. We often take access to fresh plentiful water for granted, yet for many people water remains a matter of life or death.

Now imagine experiencing a deeper thirst – a gospel thirst, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” In Matthew’s version of the Beatitudes, those who thirst for righteousness, thirst for love and for justice. “Righteousness,” comes from the Hebrew word “tzedekah,” which can be translated as justice, or as charity due another, or more fully – a right relationship.

When have you thirsted for love, for justice, for a right relationship? When have you seen someone who was thirsty for love, for justice, for a right relationship?

We meet people every day at Catholic Charities who are thirsting for justice, for love, for a right relationship. They are neighbors struggling for a right relationship with landlords and tenants helped by our Responsible Landlord Engagement Initiative. They are ex-offenders struggling to restore their lives and rejoin society as responsible working adults caring for their families in our Right Directions employment program. They are parents and children thirsting to develop right relationships with each other helped by our Behavioral Health Services. They are members of our Step Up Silicon Valley network advocating for just solutions to poverty.

They are our staff and volunteers who, thirsting for justice, commit their hearts and souls to caring for those most in need, giving drink to the thirsty in our own community. And yes, “they will be satisfied,” for God’s grace pours upon us freely and abundantly even in the midst of our own blind thirst for it.

Visit www.CatholicCharitiesSCC.org for additional information.