IT has been remarkable this week to see so many European people taking to the streets
IT has been remarkable this week to see so many European people taking to the streets to show their support and welcome for refugees and migrants.
It appears that Governments, too, are beginning to take a more compassionate view, perhaps after the dreadful and heart-wrenching image of such a small child lying dead on a Bodrum beach.Â
Maybe this is what we need to shake us into the reality of what is happening and why and to ask what we as individuals can do to help.Â
The Christian story begins with the birth of a baby whose family is forced to flee an oppressive regime when he is about two or three years old.Â
His mother has already been told that “a sword will pierce her own heart” so she knows that life is not going to be easy for her, just as it isn’t for all parents caring for and nurturing a child — unbelievable love mingled with fear, sometimes overwhelming responsibility and, in some instances, pain and loss.Â
Much later, when this boy has become a man, he begins to teach some amazing things, which appeared to go against the authorities of the day, but he spoke to ordinary people in a way which they could understand and in ways which addressed all their needs and concerns as they sought answers and truth and justice.Â
In the course of his ministry he travelled in dangerous territories, he often flouted the social norms of his day and he preached about “his Father in Heaven” and forgiveness, peace and unconditional love.Â
He broke down barriers, touched the untouchable, opened ears and eyes to reality and truth and finally gave up his life to show us the way to eternal truth and love.
Most of all, when trying to determine what we should do in any given situation, and especially at thisÂ moment, Jesus (for it is he) said: “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12)
This is known as “the Golden Rule” because it is the same one for all faiths and is such a good and simple thing for us to remember but perhaps not so easy to put into practice.Â
However, Jesus calls us to follow him, to use his life and teachings as a pattern for our own, to move out of our comfort zone and care for the sick, the homeless, the stateless, the poor and the needy, whatever that takes.Â
The following prayer comes from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops — it may help us all.
Lord Jesus, help us by your grace,Â To banish fear from our hearts, that we may embrace each of your children as we would wish to be embraced.Â To welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity, whilst responding to their many needs;Â To realise that you call all people to your holy mountain to learn the ways of peace and justice;Â To share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us;Â To give witness to your love for all people, as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.Â Amen