Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 6-7, 2019
From Fr. Anthony Ligato
We are all Migrants for Christ!
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The most difficult and challenging issue facing our nation today is undocumented immigration. This issue is not easily resolved especially because we are a nation founded on life, liberty and the persecute of happiness. People for more than 240 years have come to our shores and borders seeking a better life. I believe the American people want to provide that dream to all who want a better life for their families and themselves. Those who are coming to our boarders can not simply be defined as illegal aliens or undocumented immigrants, they are rather forced migrants. These forced migrants in many cases have no choice but to leave their homes and seek a better life. They are fleeing violence, gangs, drug cartels, poverty and hunger and nations whose governments are often corrupt. The journey north which so many of these people make is dangerous and life threating, but it is a journey many are willing to risk because they feel they have no choice.
Like the migrants on our southern border, there is another people who also have found themselves throughout their history being forced migrants. The Jewish people have found themselves time and time again into forced migration. The descendants of Abraham found themselves having to migrate to Egypt in search of a better life. Those same people who became know as the Israelites would migrate from Egypt to escape slavery and death. Their migration led them into the desert in search of the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey. They were given the land by God as an outward sign of the covenant with Israel. They lost the land when they were torn from land and sent into forced migration to the land on Babylon. They did not want to leave their homes, but they had no choice.
They lived in hope that one day they would be able to return home to the land God had given them. The prophet Isaiah gave them reason to hope, “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her, exult, exult with her.” (Isaiah 66:1014) Isaiah tells the people of Israel who were placed into forced migration that they will be provided the milk of comfort from God and God will spread prosperity over Jerusalem. They will have something to return home too, a better life. After all, that is what all people throughout history have wanted.
St. Paul speaks of that better life in reference to the new covenant which has been made possible through the cross. St. Paul said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 6:1418) This is the message that Jesus gave to the seventytwo whom he appointed and sent out in pairs to every town and village. Jesus said, “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few.” (Luke 10:19) The SeventyTwo were migrants themselves, after all how else could the Christian faith spread throughout the world so quickly. They evangelized by bringing the peace of Christ throughout the world. “Whatever house you enter, first say, Peace to this household.” As migrants for the faith we take that message of peace to all people, it brings us to the southern border of the United States where we offer peace. It brings us to modern day Israel and the Middle East where we bring the peace of Christ to all households. As Christian people we must recognize that our heritage is the legacy of migration, often times forced migration, that is how the pilgrims landed here, in search of a life of peace.
Yours in Christ,