This year the World Day of Migrants and Refugees takes place on Sunday 15th January.
Refugees are often seen as a problem rather than people who have been forced to flee their homeland because of war, persecution, climate change, or poverty. The majority of these people would rather live in their own homeland.
They are not cause of the problem but are victims of a destructive world order where violence and war are on the increase daily.
They have a right to seek asylum and to receive a welcome.
In Deuteronomy 10:18-19, God is reminding the people to “befriend the alien for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.” Indeed many of our ancestors were aliens in other lands as they too were forced to flee Ireland in search of a better life. As Christians we are challenged to move beyond just welcoming the stranger.
Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan reminds us that the stranger, “the other” is our neighbour (Luke 10:25-37) and we must love our neighbour as ourselves” (Mark 12:31).
Pope Francis in his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, focuses on the Child Migrants, who are particularly vulnerable.
He asks us not “to tire of courageously living the Gospel.” This is our challenge.
So may we all continue to do whatever we can to show our love to those who are coming to our land.
They challenge us today to live out the Gospel message in our daily lives.