This Sunday is World Day for Migrants and Refugees. The following is a quote from a longer letter from Pope Francis about our place in this world crisis:
Dear brothers and sisters, our response to the challenges posed by contemporary migration can be summed up in four verbs: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. Yet these verbs do not apply only to migrants and refugees. They describe the Church’s mission to all those living in the existential peripheries, who need to be welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated. If we put those four verbs into practice, we will help build the city of God and man. We will promote the integral human development of all people. We will also help the world community to come closer to the goals of sustainable development that it has set for itself and that, lacking such an approach, will prove difficult to achieve.
Today’s reading from Luke 16: 19-31 we hear the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus lay at the man’s door sick and hungry. He was ignored. When both died, the rich man suffered in hell and Lazarus was held in Abraham’s arms. Pope Francis reminds us that as Christians we are called to “welcome, protect, promote and integrate” those among us who are less fortunate.
On September 29 we celebrate the presence of the Archangels in our world: Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. Michael is seen as the protector; Raphael is the companion on the journey to safety and Gabriel is the messenger of good news and integration. These are very powerful Beings, who surround us daily. We can be thankful for their presence by remembering them in prayer.
On October 2 we observe another wonderful Feast of the Guardian Angels. In Matthew 28:10 reference is made by Jesus to the fact that children are watched over by the Angels. In fact we are each watched over by a special Angel. Saying the “Angel of God, my Guardian dear…” occasionally is good practice.
This week is froth with great saints, St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church, September 30; St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, October 1 and St. Francis of Assisi, October 4. Of these three St. Francis is the most special, because I am a Franciscan. His simplicity and love for all creation has appealed to Christians down through the ages. His inclusion of all and challenge to all to live the Gospel is a loud call. He certainly would be on the forefront in welcoming immigrants and refugees into the borders of all countries. He would heed the call of Pope Francis, “Welcome, protect, promote and integrate.” This is also the 800th Anniversary of the meeting of St. Francis with the Sultan Al Kamil of Egypt. This Muslim leader told Francis that if all Christians were like him there would be no war between the Muslims and Christians. This meeting took place during the tragic Crusades.
There are a number of International Days this week: International Day of Older Persons, October 1; International Day of Nonviolence, October 2 and World Teachers’ Day on October 5. Let us remember in prayer older persons, teachers and petitions for peace.
May God bless you with compassion and mercy,
Sister Rosemarie Goins CSSF , Director