National Migration Week
This week we consider our brothers and sisters forced to leave their homes and we reflect on the theme, We are one family under God. When we look at the world with the “eye of love we see that we humans are brothers and sisters not strangers and enemies; all else on the earth is given to all of us for our common good and our responsible stewardship…we find our lives by losing them in love of God and love of neighbor, hostility and hatred are healed through forgiveness not retaliation and revenge…the world’s destiny is union in God in which all tears are wiped away and we rejoice together.”
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?
National Migration Week was established over a quarter of a century ago by the bishops as a way to bring into focus the Church’s teaching on migration. The 2015 celebration, which will take place January 4 – 10, has as its theme “We are One Family Under God.” This theme brings into focus the importance of family in our daily lives and highlights the central role that it has with respect to the migration phenomenon.
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.
Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity.
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
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
In a land of immigrants, one was not an alien but simply the latest arrival.