Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Welcoming Syrian Refugees: Not Because They Are Christians But Because We are Christians

I keep a photo of a Syrian refugee family in the prayer corner of my studio, at the foot of the large icon of Mary and Jesus. The mother is wearing what looks to be a hijab, which would indicated that this holy family fleeing the violence and killing in Syria is probably Muslim.

Which is all to the good, because when Jesus commanded us to welcome the stranger, he included Muslims (and everyone else). Their picture is set up there because I want their beautiful faces to be a reminder to pray for them and for all of those who are desperate to find shelter, safety and most importantly, welcome.

In the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, it is even more important to redouble our commitment as disciples of Jesus to see His face in the faces of those who are poor, forsaken and uprooted, and to welcome them with the same mercy and compassion that we hope He will welcome us when we stand before Him on the last day.

As Jesus said, we should not be afraid of those who threaten to kill our bodies, such as the despicable wretches who murdered so many innocent people in Paris on Friday.  Rather, we should be afraid of those who urge us to only welcome Christian refugees and turn away Muslims, for if we heed thei counsel, we will surely imperil our souls.

St. John Chrysostom (the great Syrian Doctor of the Church) who was a tireless advocate for the poor and downtrodden, taught that in the end, it not be the rich and powerful who will testify for us before the judgment seat of Christ, but the poor and the powerless.

No comments:

Post a Comment