Sunday, January 14, 2018

Migrants. Refugees, and Pope Francis

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Pope Francis with Syrian Refugee Children

 The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 19:34 (NRSV)

It is one of the curious side effects of our information overload era that we can hear and see news and then almost immediately lose the source. This morning the CBC told me that Pope Francis spoke about refugees in the Vatican mass today -- or so I thought. I could find a piece about a man who created a replica of St. Peter's Basilica out of 36,000 tooth picks (see below), but nothing about the mass. Hmm.

Oh wait, there it is, from another source! Yes, Francis did address this important subject on the World Day for Migrants and Refugees. In his message he includes the verses above from the book of Leviticus and says that "In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”.

Well, thank God for Pope Francis, especially in light of the disgusting comments from the president of the United States this past week. Trump wondered why America has to accept immigrants from "shit hole countries," words which shocked many, although some of his evangelical advisors remained silent about these crass and disdainful words from his cesspool mouth. They need to get back to the bible they idolize and embalm but do not allow to be a Living Word which speaks to the issues of the moment. In that regard Roman Catholic Francis is far more evangelical.

There is an RC packet of material for this day and it includes a statement of faith from Indonesia. Perhaps we can all read it and affirm its message for our own lives.

Indonesian Creed
I believe in God, who is love and who has given the earth to all people.

I believe in Jesus Christ, who came to heal us and free us from all forms of oppression.

I believe in the Spirit of God, who works in and through all who are turned towards the truth.

I believe in the community of faith, which is called to be at the service of all people.

I believe in God’s promise to destroy the power of sin in all people and establish the reign of

justice and peace for all humankind.

I do not believe in the right of the strongest, nor the force of arms, or the power of oppression.

I believe in human rights, in the solidarity of all people, in the power of non-violence.

I do not believe in racism, in the power that comes from wealth and privilege, or in any

established order that enslaves.

I believe that all men and women are equally human and that order based on violence and

injustice is not order.

I do not believe that we can ignore things that happen far away.

I believe that the whole world is my home and that the field I plough and the harvest I reap

belong to every person.

I do not believe that I can fight oppression far away if I tolerate injustice here.

I believe that there is but one right everywhere and that I am not free if one person remains


I do not believe that war and hunger are inevitable and peace unattainable.

I believe in the beauty of simplicity, in love with open hands, in peace on earth.

I do not believe that suffering need be in vain, that death is the end, that the disfigurement of

our world is what God intended.

But I dare to believe always and in spite of everything, in God’s power to transform and

transfigure, fulfilling the promise of a new heaven and a new earth where justice and peace

will flourish.

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