Bawana yu Nawe

Bro Mickey Swahili Mary

Reprinted with permission of the artist, Bro. Mickey O’Neill McGrath, OSFS

“Bawana yu Nawe” is Swahili for ” the Lord is with you.” If we believe in God, if we follow Christ, do we believe that the Lord is with us, but not with others?

Today on Sunday, January 14, 2018, Pope Francis presided at mass for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Among other things, he said this:

I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.”

How are we called to do those things in our own lives? The first thing might just be to pray, especially if we feel fearful or challenged, and to ask God to open the door to our hearts. As that door opens, the first migrant enters – it is Christ himself.

That is what is meant by the words “the Lord is with you.” With YOU. With ME. With EVERYONE. That literally means every single person, every single human born unto this earth. Everyone, without exception. What we do with that migrant Christ who presses in need upon the door of our heart is up to us.

The Lord is indeed with us all, but it is up to us to let God in. What will we do? Block the way, or fling wide the gate? Will we cite laws and resources? Will we claim fear of the “other?” Or will we, as Pope Francis asks us to, “welcome, protect, promote, and integrate?” These are all verbs, requiring action. We can sit and fret, or we can get up and do what the apostles did in today’s Gospel – get up and go, follow Christ. To do that means to bring down the barriers of fear, and to spring into movement. It does not mean we will not be afraid as we go, it means that we know the Lord is leading the way, so we will follow. Remember –“Bawana yu Nawe.”

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UPDATED Innocence and perspective

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Things on my mind today… how we easily pick and choose those for whom “the dignity of all human life” matters for and who it does not matter as much for, and also Odoardo Focherini. The phrase “dignity of all human life” no doubt brings forth images for you, and meaning.  I’m guessing that you may have never heard of Focherini, unless if you, like me, read about him in today’s Give Us This Day.  Reading about him on today’s Feast of the Holy Innocents reminded me that perspective and context are everything, and that makes picking and choosing our moral precepts problematic.

Liturgically in the church today is the day when we recall the massacre of the Holy Innocents by Herod. Enraged to learn that the magi had deceived him, old Herod decided it would be a good idea to just go ahead and murder the children of Bethlehem. You know, he was throwing a wide net “just in case.” We wouldn’t want any dangerous babies around, would we?

Obsessed as I am with matters of immigration debate, the irony is not lost on me and I find myself with a bitter taste in my mouth. Last week on December 21 it was reported that the White House was considering a policy where children would be separated from their parents in cases of undocumented human beings crossing the border illegally. You can read about that here. Honestly, reading terms like “family units” or “unaccompanied alien children” (also known as “UACs“) makes me sick to my stomach. This is how dehumanizing human beings, all born with the dignity of human life in them, takes off.

If you find yourself feeling Continue reading

Human

noillegalsIf we truly believe that we are made and fashioned in God’s image, how can anyone be illegal? I’m relying on the moral authority of Elie Wiesel, z”l right now. We are human. Let us stand in solidarity. (I’m having an issue with the video embedding. If you go to the link, you will find a video of Elie Wiesel, made by the New York Times as part of his obituary.)

https://static01.nyt.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000004508169

I was a stranger…

5f18a2168c3daec4004ab176b2cd4132I’m grateful to see and hear this powerful Catholic Christian message from Fr. James Martin, SJ. Fr. Jim is a prolific author, speaker, and so much more. He is also an editor at America Magazine. This video was uploaded to America’s Facebook page today.

The message is very simple… If we can’t welcome the stranger, we can’t welcome Christ. Like I asked earlier today in my post about Saint Paul, what would any of us do when confronted with God? What will we do when confronted with the stranger? The answer to both is the same.

Feeling challenged by this? If we don’t feel challenged by God on a regular basis, we are doing something very wrong.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FFrJamesMartin%2Fvideos%2F10154132008256496%2F&show_text=0&width=560