Though language, distance, and culture may separate us, we are united to our brothers and sisters in faith all over the country and world.
Celebrating the 97th World Day of Migrants on Jan. 16, Pope Benedict XVI called upon the church to remember the family unity that humanity shares, especially as it relates to migrants and refugees, those who leave their home country out of protection of some sort.
The Second Vatican Council affirms that “All peoples are one community and have one origin, because God caused the whole human race to dwell on the face of the earth (cf. Acts 17:26); they also have one final end, God” (Message for the World Day of Peace, 2008, 1). “His providence, His manifestations of goodness, His saving design extend to all men” (Declaration Nostra aetate, 1). Thus, “We do not live alongside one another purely by chance; all of us are progressing along a common path as men and women, and thus as brothers and sisters” (Message for the World Day of Peace, 2008, 6).
We are all on the road of life, the pope said, but the situations different people encounter vary. And because this is so, it’s important to remember that whether a person migrates by choice or force, the process is a difficult one.
Singles can often relate to this difficult process of feeling out of place as they search for their spot in this couples’ world. Singles also can relate to the search migrants go through to find a place called home, with family and traditions of your own.
[T]he presence of the church, as the People of God journeying through history among all the other peoples, is a source of trust and hope. Indeed, the church is “in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 1); and through the action within her of the Holy Spirit, “the effort to establish a universal brotherhood is not a hopeless one” (Idem, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 38). It is the Holy Eucharist in particular that constitutes, in the heart of the church, an inexhaustible source of communion for the whole of humanity.
The pope reminds everyone that the church and her members should be that place of home, tradition, and familiarity to all who are searching for those, especially refugees and migrants. Let’s join him in that prayer and hope for the church.
And as we strive to make our neighbor feel more at home, we might end up feeling more at home ourselves.