January 7 -14 is National Migration Week
For nearly a half century, the Catholic Church in the United States has celebrated National Migration Week which is an opportunity for us to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking. “Unfortunately, in our contemporary culture we often fail to encounter migrants as persons, and instead look at them as unknown others, if we even notice them at all. We do not take the time to engage them as fellow children of God, but remain aloof to their presence and suspicious or fearful of them.” (USCCB) Pope Francis continues to remind us of our shared responsibility to welcome, to protect, to promote, and to integrate migrants and refugees. ‘For us Christians, hospitality offered to the weary traveler is offered to Jesus Christ himself.
When we look at the world with the “eye of love we see that we humans are brothers and sisters not strangers and enemies.”
Help me to love and welcome those who come seeking dignity and safety.
I will examine my own attitudes and feelings toward persons of different cultures who come to my neighborhood or seek refuge in this country. What is my level of acceptance and welcome?
When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God
But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
1 John 3:17
I was a stranger and you made me welcome.
We are a nation of immigrants, of travelers, of strangers who came to this land looking for a home, whether our lineage takes us back to those who came by sea or strait so long ago to be called Native Americans, or to Europeans who wanted a new Jerusalem, or to the proud peoples of Africa brought here against their will, or to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free who came to this land through Ellis Island, and still do through Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and El Paso. We are a nation of immigrants, of strangers seeking the hospitality of this land and of one another.
Barbara A. Anderson
The whole Church is challenged to live the experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus as they are converted to be witnesses of the Risen Lord after they welcome him as a stranger. Faith in the presence of Christ in the migrant leads to a conversion of mind and heart, which leads to a renewed spirit of communion and to the building of structures of solidarity to accompany the migrant. Part of the process of conversion of mind and heart deals with confronting attitudes of cultural superiority, indifference, and racism; accepting migrants not as foreboding aliens, terrorists, or economic threats, but rather as persons with dignity and rights, revealing the presence of Christ; and recognizing migrants as bearers of deep cultural values and rich faith traditions
USCCB, Brothers and Sisters to Us.
The new immigrants call most of us back to our ancestral heritage as descendants of immigrants and to our baptismal heritage as members of the body of Christ.
Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity, A Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops
In a land of immigrants, one was not an alien but simply the latest arrival.