Nearly a year ago now, I read an article about Pope Francis’ thoughts about our worldwide refugee crisis. Now, in hindsight, it’s impossible to deny that he was prophetic in his analysis. He called for us all to embrace four verbs as our shared response: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate. These four actions are so integral to a Christian response to our brothers and sisters in crisis, so reflective of the call to be imitators of Jesus, that I think they each are worth exploring a bit given what is happening now.
So this week, a look at the first verb, to welcome. Francis calls for better options for refugees to legally resettle, such as visas and refugee sponsorships – just like the one our parish has been a part of for over a year now. Did you know that resettlement offices like the one we have worked with have been closing all over the country because the U.S. is drastically reducing the number of refugees we will allow? Pope Francis also denounces the detention of people who enter a new country when their lives are threatened in their home country. “The principle of the dignity of the human person obliges us always to prioritize human safety over national security,” he writes. Fear and self-interest cannot be what drives our immigration policy. We are called to a much higher and holier standard – that of mercy and love.
Next week . . . the second verb – to protect.