Pastor’s Corner for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, by Rev. Fr. Rampeoane Hlobo, SJ
Today being the last Sunday of the month of September, the Catholic Church commemorate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The church chooses this Sunday as a way of showing and encouraging solidarity with migrants and refugees. Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay is the theme that Pope Francis chose for this year’s commemoration. In his message for the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis reminds us of how complex or sophisticated the phenomenon of human mobility is and that it can only be understood if the different stages – from departure to arrival in host communities – are carefully analyzed. The United Nations agencies report that over 281 million people worldwide have left their homes, 117 million of which have been forcibly displaced due to wars, political persecution, climate change or are stateless. Although these figures appear in the analysis of migratory patterns, they are however, not just numbers but human beings like me and you. Pope Francis reminds us that “The decision to migrate should always be free, yet in many cases, even in our day, it is not. Conflicts, natural disasters, or more simply the impossibility of living a dignified and prosperous life in one’s native land is forcing millions of persons to leave.”
This is a reminder that the choice and the right to migrate or to stay is part of the human dignity for all and should be protected. To emphasize this point, he quotes Saint John Paul II who in 2003 stated that “as regards migrants and refugees, building conditions of peace means in practice being seriously committed to safeguarding first of all the right not to emigrate, that is, the right to live in peace and dignity in one &# 39;s own country.” We however, especially in the last two centuries, have experienced economic, environmental and socio-political conditions that have left most people with no choice of whether to migrate or to stay. These undesirable man-made conditions, we can conclude, have been largely caused by greed and unscrupulous actions of the wicked people that the prophet Isiah is alluding to in our first reading today. These conditions confirm that our thoughts are not in line with God’s thoughts. His are far above ours and his generosity can never be matched as we hear from today’s gospel.
The two readings challenge us to try and emulate the noble virtues therein. During this Season of Creation as we commemorate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, we look at these readings as a call to work for and promote the principles of Human Dignity, Common Good, Solidarity and Preferential Option for the Marginalised and Displaced. We also call to mind the words of Pope Francis in his encyclical, Laudato Si’ that “this vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all.” These messages and many others alike, we understand them as Middle Axioms or guidelines to help us live together as children of God with the rest of God’s creation in dignity, solidarity and common wellbeing. May we continue to take care of each other, especially the most vulnerable like migrants and refugees, including the rest of God’s creation.
For the sick
Let us continue to pray for the sick members of our parish especially Benedicta Ngwebelele, Phoebe Ngwenya and Andrew Ledwaba.
Rev. Fr. Rampe Hlobo SJ