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100th World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Cheridan Sanders

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dear migrants and refugees! Never lose the hope that you too are facing a more secure future, that on your journey you will encounter an outstretched hand, and that you can experience fraternal solidarity and the warmth of friendship! To all of you, and to those who have devoted their lives and their efforts to helping you, I give the assurance of my prayers and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.
Today as we mark the 100th World Day for Migrants and Refugees, I can’t help but think of how Jesus started out his life as refugee fleeing from his homeland. I marvel at God’s nature, because what sort of all-powerful being would be so humbled by taking on our human form? And by doing so also enter into all of our sufferings? How unimaginably vulnerable Jesus was as his mother and father fled over perilous terrain to Egypt. Had we lived 2000 years ago how might we have treated the Holy Family if they’d crossed our path? Would we have invited them into our homes and broken bread with them? Or would we have looked on with apathy and seen them as part of a never-ending expanse of suffering humanity? Only God knows for sure what anyone of us would do in that situation, and yet every moment we live and breathe God gives us another chance to choose to “be” more. God is so generous.
 Syrian refugee children gather around a fire near their makeshift tents in central Ankara
Thankfully, most Canadians (especially those of us who have immigrated) have an inkling of the vulnerability that comes with leaving our native countries and setting out to seek a better future.  Still, I can’t imagine the terror and desperation of what it must be like to flee home carrying my child and only the barest of provisions.
So, let’s take Pope Francis message for this year’s world day for Migrants and Refugees to heart and see migrants and refugees as an opportunity “ that Providence gives us to help build a more just society, a more perfect democracy, a more united country, a more fraternal world and a more open and evangelical Christian community.” Isn’t that a great way to look at it? This is our opportunity to respond to God’s invitation, to reach out to our brothers and sisters in need. This is our opportunity to transform the world one person at a time, and to participate in the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. It’s not too late to “be” more.
CNS photos

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