Abram’s Call and Migration
“The LORD said to Abram: Go forth - from your land, your relatives, and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will find blessing in you. Abram went as the LORD directed him, and Lot went with him.” (Genesis 12:1-4)
This experience of Abram in today’s first reading, though familiar, should not be taken lightly. People leave their homes all the time, to try new things and to experience new horizons. But this story is different; it comes from ancient times, around 1800 BC. Tribe was important, family was essential. Leaving the area of your tribe and your family must have taken great courage to make that break, because it was very dangerous. Yet even more significant, no destination was given to this call. The call was to go, and the place was to be shown, but only after you left all behind.
Abram’s experience resonates with the experience of the millions of poor immigrants and the fears they must know in leaving with no destination in sight, with long lines, little food or rest and often with children and babies in arms. We may also recall the flight of the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus who were forced by King Herod to escape into Egypt “as refugees,” fleeing violence and finding refuge among strangers.
In this week’ readings, we have another invitation to see things in a new way – from another point of view, from the perspective of immigrants and refugees, today’s poorest and most needy. Pope Francis calls us to remember the words of Jesus: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” How can we see with new eyes, the poverty of our current refugees and immigrants, and hope that the blessings promised to Abram may also be their hope?
St. Julie’s commitment to the poor in the most abandoned places grew from her radical immersion in the events of her times and her contemplative perspective on them.
Response: God, help us to see with new eyes.
May we see Christ in all men and women.
May we see Christ in a special way in the experience of those who are poor or suffering.
May we see Christ in those who are suffering from violence, torture, war or any form of abuse.
May we see Christ in the struggle of people and nations to enjoy basic human rights.
May we see Christ in the journey and struggle of immigrants and refugees.
May we see Christ in the people of troubled locations like Syria, Ukraine, South Sudan, or Haiti.
May we see Christ in all the hopes, joys, struggles and sufferings of our world.
Closing Prayer for Justice
May God bless you with discomfort with easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships so that you will live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people so that you will work for justice, equity and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war so that you will reach out your head to comfort them and change their pain to joy.
And may God bless you with the foolishness to think that you can make a difference in the world so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done. Amen.
Elaine Menardi, Diocese of Cheyenne, Catholic Relief Services “Called to Witness” program, Ecuador
Sisters Patricia Cassidy, Maureen Coyle and Eileen Cassidy, all Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, living and ministering in Scotland, have become part of a whole new life reality while working with Asylum seekers. After serving many years as Educators and in International ministry programs, Sisters Patricia, Maureen and Eileen help welcome and walk with Asylum seekers as they attempt to comply with immigration requirements in Scotland.