texas, water and Christ among us

we have been praying for you good people of texas. it is a difficult thing to not have electricity, gas and water. i hope we get you water as soon as possible and that we all understand jesus’ teaching in matthew 25 differently now: “when i was thirsty, you gave me something to drink.”

there is a small village called tumahubong on the island of basilan in the most southern part of the philippines. when i was there as a seminarian in 1992, we used to hike daily about a quarter mile into the hills to a creek. that is where we showered. fresh creek water in island humidity is one of those simple pleasures. as it was the just part of the rhythm of life there and i adjusted to it.

the heart of my pastoral year in formation as a claretian was to experience life in our communities and in the people we serve.

during that pastoral year in our filipino claretian communities, i only had the opportunity to use a clothes washer twice. i had to learn quickly how to wash clothes by hand. most of the seminarians spent a greater part of saturday washing their clothes from the week. i got into the routine of washing my clothes from the previous day right after breakfast. it was a cooler part of the day and my clothes did not pile up. hand washing clothes made me conscious of how mothers– in urban manila or rural communities on basilan– had wash the clothes of all their children and family. for many, they have to walk significant distances just to get to the nearest well. in the city, clean water was always a questionable reality. dirty water was usually just thrown in the street, down the drain and ended up in the waterways and manila bay.

one of the first things that i did when i returned to california after that pastoral year was to kiss the washing machine. i said to it, “i will never take you for granted again.”

in the usa, we expect water to pour forth when we turn the knob; we expect the lights and heat to turn on when we flip the switches. but we know that that is not always the case. texans are feeling it firsthand.

hopefully, the authorities–in texas, the united states and the whole world– entrusted with the common goods of power and water will learn from mistakes of the past. to provide people with reliable and clean electricity and water is necessary to live well. these goods have just been assumed instantaneous by many in our developed world– we see again that it is not something to take for granted. water justice could be key for our world in these coming years. there will be many who will try to exploit the lack of resources like water for selfish purposes. will public officials and people of faith protect these goods that are for everyone? we need the Spirit’s help and guidance through it all.

jesus was right when he said, “when you did it (give them water) for the least of these, you did it for me.” love one another and Christ in our deeds…

let us pray:

God of all understanding, you show us through the waters of baptism a new way of being in relationship with Jesus. The water you share is living water; let it refresh and invigorate us to find creative solutions to curb our water usage. Let the water you share renew in us a conviction to be champions of change; to voice a greater awareness and respect your gift of water. Amen.

p.s. march 22nd is “world water day” see https://www.worldwaterday.org/


  1. Nora says:

    Father Art: I loved this piece of writing! I have a friend in Africa who we keeps in touch through Facebook. He checked in on our family and asked how we were coping through the water and electricity crisis. I told him that we were finally okay after 2 and a half days without water and electricity. In a bit of humor, he replied, “You got a little taste of our everyday life! We do not have electricity here!” Father, you are correct in saying that we take advantage of the little pleasures in life. These essentials are needed, however these few days served as an experience for my family to empathize with those who are ALWAYS without.
    Blessings, from the Mozingos in Texas

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frarthurcmf says:

      amen amen nora! you have always had the openness of heart to grow in faith through challenging and unexpected ways. the Spirit is a movin’ in your life and in your family. Godspeed


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