Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014
30th Sunday in
Psalm 18:2-4, 47, 51
1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10
As I write this, there is a war of words, ideologies, and policy opinions raging on news and social media over the crisis of children crossing the border into the U.S. from Central America.
The issue is, of course, bigger than this current news cycle, and it has been going on for many years. I have been listening to what I thought was all sides of this issue and was not sure what to think, but things crystalized when I read this week’s Scriptures and saw God’s opinion.
The readings kick off with this from Exodus: “Thus says the Lord: ‘You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.’”
I remembered making a family tree when I was in grade school, and I learned that my family is from Ireland and France. Not exactly Egypt, but point taken!
In Exodus, we read how God hears the cry of the oppressed and that we had better not be the oppressors or things will not go well for us.
God uses pretty strong language to call those who follow him to be as compassionate as he is.
Some might say that the old testament God is different from the new testament God. In a way, they are right.
In the new testament, God is compassionate from afar as in the old testament, but he also is compassionate in person -- the person of Jesus.
This personified compassion of God tells us in this week’s Gospel that we must do this: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
These words from God may be hard to hear and even harder to put into action, but the other two readings give us some direction on how to proceed.
St. Paul tells us to imitate the leaders of our Church and God. We should all read the bishops’ statements on immigration and strive to be as compassionate as God.
The psalm response shows us how to pray. Close your eyes and say: “I love you, Lord, my strength.” And while you are at it, pray for all these people who feel the need to flee their homeland. May the Lord, and we, have mercy on them all.
This column is offered in cooperation with The North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.