Pastor’s Corner for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C by Rev. Fr. Rampe Hlobo SJ
HERITAGE DAY & 108 WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
Heritage Day was declared a public holiday in 1996 and, since then, the 24th of September has been a day that encourages us to celebrate our cultural traditions, communities and heritage.
On this day we recognise and celebrate our cultural diversity in this country. In its essence, the day embraces and celebrates the true meaning of why South Africa is called a Rainbow Nation.
The day is marked by wearing traditional outfits, eating traditional foods, learning about different cultures and spending time with friends and family. As we do so, let us take a moment to reflect also on how we welcome Migrants and Refugees in our comunities as part of our diversity. On that point Fr Rampe invites us to reflect of the letter below.
108TH WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEE (25 SEPTEMBER 2022)
Every year on the last Sunday of September, the Catholic Church commemorates the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR). This year Pope Francis has chosen the theme of “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees.”
The SAP Migration Commission requests everyone who will be saying Mass on 25 September 2022, to please highlight this comemration by not least, adding the points below in your homilies.
On this World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis invites us to a process of “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees.” He envisions a harmonised and inclusive society, with gates open to others, in the prophecy of Isaiah. Far from being invaders or destroyers, migrants and refugees constitute willing labourers who rebuild the walls of the new Jerusalem (Isa 60:10-11) and bring an abundance of wealth to it (Isa 60:5).
This Sunday’s readings also echo “building the future with Migrants and Refugees.” Both the first reading (Amos 6:1a, 4-7) and the Gospel reading (Lk 61:19-31) constitute future outcomes of how we live the present reality. If we fail to appreciate the present, such as failing to be inclusive of others in our midst, we shall experience exile (1st reading) and exclusion from God’s Kingdom (Gospel reading).
The second reading (1 Tim 6:11-16) recommends charity, justice, and perseverance as channels of peace and experience of God’s Kingdom here on earth. In a similar spirit, states and communities should see migrants and refugees as assets and contributors of development and not as liabilities. Governments and local communities should also raise the consciousness of their citizens to the contributions of migrants and refugees, the majority of whom are young and energetic people, in their midst.
Without a deliberate inclusion of migrants or refugees in our society, the Kingdom of God hardly exists.
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.
Rampe Hlobo SJ