Sunday, October 08, 2017

SOCIAL JUSTICE: Share the Journey

On Sept. 27, Pope Francis launched Share the Journey, a campaign that helps us focus on our responsibilities as a united global human family. This campaign is an appeal for us to promote a culture of encounter to counteract the culture of indifference that exists in our world. This campaign is intended to strengthen the bonds between migrants and our communities. During October we observe Respect Life Month, and we are reminded to resist the culture of indifference by endeavoring to initiate a culture of fruitful encounter that restores every human person to their rightful dignity as a child of God. Pope Francis reminds us that daily proximity to people’s share of troubles enables us “to practice the commandment of love, not on the basis of ideas or concepts, but rather on the basis of genuine interpersonal encounter.”

Share the Journey with Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin

While recognizing the harsh realities that conversations about migrants and asylum seekers in American society causes fear and division — even among “church-going” people — and considering that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were refugees who fled the violence of Herod, could it be possible that we would be more understanding of their plight because we know their story? Fruitful encounter is so very important because it reminds us of our Christian responsibility to ensure that all persons, regardless of status, have inherent human dignity that must be respected.

We are called to lead by example by contributing ourselves individually and collectively not by mutual exclusion, but by equality in dignity. The Share the Journey campaign is important because it is about human dignity. This campaign compels us to appreciate the sacred dignity of migrants and refugees as children of God, recognizing that life is sacred, regardless of the color of our skin, our ethnicity, or our nationality. After all, are we not tasked with reminding our communities that we all sit around the Eucharistic table without regard to the distinctions of nationality, ethnicity, age, gender, or whatever labels society uses to divide us?

Let us pray for a just solution to mitigate the fear, uncertainty and terror that finds itself as a part of the migrant and refugee experience in the U.S. As we continue to bring the message of Christ to all people, we must continue to ask the God of wisdom and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, to assist with counsel and fortitude all government leaders. Let us continue, in keeping with the instruction given in the first epistle to Timothy, to pray for our nations, legislatures, members of parliaments and all who are in authority (2:1-3), that they may reject the temptation of indifference and adopt sincere hearts of encounter.

May the great challenges that are facing our communities today, and in our future, be met as great opportunities! May the Mother of God, through her never-failing intercession, always watch over us, with all our blessed diversity, as we strive to do the work of her Son in this world. May our work be in perfect harmony with the eternal teachings of Christ, and may the Gospel message come alive through each of us this Respect Life Month and forever!

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