If we don't help refugees we are just sounding gongs.

Sunday, 1/31/16

The second reading tells us that if we speak with the tongues of angels, but are not loving, than we are empty noise.

In our time those most in need for our love are the refugees war is driving from their homes. With bombs falling all around; they ned to  run, casting themselves on the hospitality of strangers. 
I had dealings with people like that sixty years ago.

Let me bore you with one of my old Korean stories. I arrived in Korea a month after the war ended, and for one summer I was sent as assistant to an Irish priest who was rebuilding the parish church of a place where the Reds had killed the Korean priest. At summer's end, Father McGowan moved on, and i stayed as pastor there for ten years.

After night prayers in the church, we used to sit out with everyone telling stories. Their word for fleeing was "Penawn," and a story was a "Yaggy." One little boy's Penawn Yaggy was about his grandmother getting the "stinking disease." They cured her, by feeding her the powder from machine gun bullets.

Kids were so severely undernourished that many of them died from tuberculosis. Then, help came in a strange way. Our Catholic Relief people had opened up a few soup kitchens in the big cities. They were  serving soup that was bulked up with noodles made with surplus U.S. flour. When the man running the program had to leave, Father Neil, an Irish priest friend of mine went in to take his place for a few weeks.

On the first day the Korean office manager told Neil that it was that year’s final day for putting in a request to the U.S.  Agriculture Department for flour. Father Neil signed the request , but instead of its requesting 20,000 pounds, he asked for 20,000 tons.

Back in Washington, President Eisenhower had been taking heat for the cost of storing all our surplus flour. So, that day his administration welcomed Father Neil’s request. They got their old Victory Ships out of mothballs, and they paid for trucks to haul the flour out to our parishes in he Korean boondocks. My monthly allotment of twenty tons filled my priest’s house, but each month it fed the people in our county's five townships.

A man with five daughters had added weeds to the last of their barley, and they were all sitting down to what they saw their last meal on earth,. Then, my man showed up with their allotment of our surplus flour. What wonderful noodles it made!

One US. Congressman complained over our pouring our wealth down “foreign rat holes;” but that wasn’t very Christian of him, was it?

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