Jesus reminds us to welcome strangers Print
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

We just observed Thanksgiving, the holiday started by the Pilgrims in 1621.

As we know, the Pilgrims emigrated to the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts and shared a harvest feast with the Native American Indians who had helped them.

Why they came

The Pilgrims came from England to America primarily to be able to practice their religious faith freely.

Over the centuries, people from many other parts of the world have come to the United States. My own ancestors hailed primarily from Ireland, Germany, and Belgium.

These immigrants travelled to our country for many different reasons, but most have sought a better life and freedom to live as they choose. Some have also sought safety from persecution, natural disasters, and wars.

It seems as if we’re hearing a lot of anti-immigrant talk these days, particularly in our nation’s capital. I’m not sure what’s prompting this outlook, but it seems to be due mostly to fear.

What Jesus says

In last Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew (25:31-46), we hear Jesus telling his disciples how to obtain eternal life.

He says to his disciples, “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”

When the disciples asked about when they didn’t care for Jesus, he insists, “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.”

It seems very clear that Jesus is telling us — his followers today — to welcome strangers.

Let’s keep this in mind as we hear about anti-immigration proposals. We should oppose efforts to keep legitimate immigrants out of our country.