By Beth DeCristofaro
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the LORD. … (and said) Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness. (Esther c:12, 25)
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:11-12)
Merciful God, we pray to you for all the men, women and children
who have died after leaving their homelands in search of a better life.
Though many of their graves bear no name,
to you each one is known, loved and cherished.
May we never forget them, but honor their sacrifice with deeds more than words.
We entrust to you all those who have made this journey,
enduring fear, uncertainty and humiliation,
in order to reach a place of safety and hope.
Just as you never abandoned your Son
as he was brought to a safe place by Mary and Joseph,
so now be close to these, your sons and daughters,
through our tenderness and protection.
In caring for them may we seek a world
where none are forced to leave their home
and where all can live in freedom, dignity and peace.
Merciful God and Father of all,
wake us from the slumber of indifference,
open our eyes to their suffering,
and free us from the insensitivity
born of worldly comfort and self-centeredness.
Inspire us, as nations, communities and individuals,
to see that those who come to our shores are our brothers and sisters.
May we share with them the blessings we have received from your hand,
and recognize that together, as one human family,
we are all migrants, journeying in hope to you, our true home, p
where every tear will be wiped away,
where we will be at peace and safe in your embrace.
(Pope Francis, 4/16/16) quotes from USCCB)
How can one read the story of Esther and not think of the millions of refugees in flight from persecution and oppression today? Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Orthodox ethnic groups, culturally dissimilar people, political rivals, alternative lifestyles are all brutalized in thought, word and deed. In our country people who are different often have violence or narrow-mindedness directed at them. Can we, this Lenten journey, begin to see ourselves as all traveling together through life?
Jesus reminds us God’s ways are not our ways. The “golden rule” predates the Christian era and is echoed in spiritual movements and religions around the world. How might you waken from the slumber of inattention, fear, traditionalism or complacency? Pray with the Pope today and see in what ways you are moved to give good gifts. Share your blessings.