Saturday, November 12, 2016

Remain Co-Workers in the Truth

Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers and sisters, especially for strangers; they have testified to your love before the Church. Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey. 3 John 5-6

For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually, he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally comes and strike me.’” The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?  Luke 18:4-7B

God, in his loving design, excludes no one, Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square.  Just as we are made children in Christ through baptism, the Pope said, we, in turn, are called to show mercy and “include others in our life,” rather than becoming closed within ourselves and “our egotistical safety.”

 “No one is excluded from this appeal,” the Pope said, “since Jesus’ mission is to reveal to each person the Father’s love.”  Inclusion, which the Holy Father says is an “aspect of mercy,” reaches out to everyone without regard for social conditions, language, race, culture, or religion. It is manifested in the love of each person “as God loves them.”

In the first reading, there is a straightforward call by the Presbyter asking Gaius not only to continue to welcome the missionaries to his community but also to equip them for further travels.  In the Gospel, we also can see the straightforward message to pray consistently (“about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.”). However, at the very end of the Gospel passage, Jesus throws us a curveball.  “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8C)

First, the final question seems to be posed in the future tense.  “When the Son of Man comes…”  The listener might interpret that to mean the Son of Man will come in the future.  The listener might be shocked to know that the Son of Man is already alive in the present tense.

“Will he find faith on earth?”  Will Jesus find anyone with the persistent prayer of this widow?  The widow may wear down the judge until he finally relents.  But will anyone pray so much to wear down God until the Lord finally answers our prayer?

Have you ever prayed so hard for something to happen that the prayer was finally answered?

We are challenged today to be faithful in all we do, especially for the stranger.  Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration calls on elected officials and all Americans to welcome refugees, immigrants without sacrificing core values or security.

We believe the family unit is the cornerstone of society, so it is vital to protect the integrity of the family. For this reason, we are reminded that behind every "statistic" is a person who is a mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother and has dignity as a child of God. We pray that as the new administration begins its role leading our country, it will recognize the contributions of refugees and immigrants to the overall prosperity and well-being of our nation. We will work to promote humane policies that protect refugee and immigrants' inherent dignity, keep families together, and honor and respect the laws of this nation.

Serving and welcoming people fleeing violence and conflict in various regions of the world is part of our identity as Catholics. The Church will continue this life-saving tradition. Today, with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, the need to welcome refugees and provide freedom from persecution is more acute than ever and our 80 dioceses across the country are eager to continue this wonderful act of accompaniment born of our Christian faith. We stand ready to work with a new administration to continue to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans. A duty to welcome and protect newcomers, particularly refugees, is an integral part of our mission to help our neighbors in need.[i]

As Catholics and Americans, we remain a people of solidarity with others in need and a nation of hospitality which treats others as we would like to be treated. No matter how you feel about the election results, we remain co-workers in the truth on all matters of the Gospel.

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