Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Welcome The Stranger

While not usually listed among the Corporal Works of Mercy, Jesus states this command among them in his discourse in Matthew 25:31-46. Specifically verses 35 and 36: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me..." This should certainly leave Catholic Christians in a quandary about how to handle illegal immigration. I don't profess to have the answer. I can just share some of the reflections that give me cause to believe that the great state of Arizona has not hit on quite the right solution yet.

In desperation, the Holy Family fled Bethlehem right after Jesus' birth and entered into Egypt illegally, hiding there for several years until an angel proclaimed it safe to return home. How did Joseph support them during that time? What if it was today, and the Holy Family were fleeing to the United States, hoping for a better life or a safe haven from persecution? What if Jesus was born here and Joseph and Mary got deported? Far fetched? Not really. Throughout the Bible we find God's message of love. We are our brother's keeper. How do we help them achieve what they are hoping for when they cross our border? Can we help them do it legally, keeping families intact? Is there a way to help them improve their lives in their own country, so they can live with dignity and self respect there? In a world that has little use for the gospel message it is our duty to be a light in our own little corner. The opportunities will present themselves to each of us today. Lord, help us to recognize them and serve you.

Do not neglect to show hospitality, for by that means some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

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