Wednesday, March 22, 2017

To Fulfill

"However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children's children." Deuteronomy 4:9

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law until all things have taken place. Matthew 5:17-18

[W]e give thanks to God the Father for the many blessings of creation, and to our Lord Jesus Christ for the gift of salvation. We raise our prayer to the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide us in carrying out all that the Lord has commanded us. In discerning the signs of the times, we note the greatly increased migration among the peoples of the Americas, and we see in this but one manifestation of a worldwide phenomenon–often called globalization–which brings with it great promises along with multiple challenges. Please enlighten us to recognize that Jesus the Son, who was called out of exile in Egypt to be our Savior.  Help us to recognize the strangers among us and welcome them as commanded. Amen.

Imagine being a disciple of Jesus two thousand years ago.  How in the world would you make any sense of what was happening around you? 

An itinerant Jewish carpenter from Nazareth (where nothing good comes from) is walking around, preaching in parables, sometimes curing the sick, and getting into quite public confrontations with the local authorities (at both the temple and from Rome).  Surely, he must be here to overturn Mosaic law as we know it, right?  However, Jesus tries to clarify how his Word and works fit into the world-view that the people in ancient, Roman-occupied Palestine know.

According to the notes from the New American Bible to explain this passage from Matthew:

The “turning of the ages” comes with the apocalyptic event of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and those to whom this gospel is addressed are living in the new and final age, prophesied by Isaiah as the time of “new heavens and a new earth” (Is 65:17; 66:22). Meanwhile, during Jesus’ ministry when the kingdom is already breaking in, his mission remains within the framework of the law, though with significant anticipation of the age to come.

Jesus is admitting that he is not coming to break the old laws but to fulfill the prophecies which many have preached before him.  He does not want them to forget the things they have learned.  However, he wants them to remember those lessons and pass them on with the new chapter he is about to write with the Easter mystery. In the coming section, Jesus does not break the old laws but he extends their application to new situations.  Jesus goes above and beyond the traditional way of viewing things.

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich used a nationally televised forum to pledge solidarity with immigrants living in the United States and reinforce that Catholic Social Teaching reminds us all to welcome strangers and have a preferential option for the poor.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago is pictured after a prayer service
at which he took possession of his titular church of
St. Bartholomew on Tiber Island in Rome Nov. 20.
(CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“The principle that every human being, documented or undocumented, is made in the image of God and deserving of dignity and respect is at the core of our faith,” the Chicago archbishop said in Spanish during a town hall-style event broadcast on Telemundo on March 19.

“Because of that principle,” he continued, “I am here today to assure you that we stand with those made fearful by the hatred expressed and threats made during the past year toward immigrants and refugees.”

“Today, we pledge to carry on the church’s commitment to the dignity of our neighbors. As the church was there for my grandparents in the 1900’s, the church is here for you,” he said. “We will speak out against prejudice and discrimination, provide you the services and comfort we can offer and work for justice until it is achieved.”

Cardinal Cupich’s statement is in following with the letter of the USCCB’s position on immigration. 

The Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, says that the latest Executive Order on immigration still puts vulnerable populations around the world at risk. In a statement issued after the announcement of the latest travel suspension, Bishop Vásquez says that while we seek to maintain our values and safety, we must also exercise compassion in assisting and continuing to welcome the stranger. He said, “We remain deeply troubled by the human consequences of the revised executive order on refugee admissions and the travel ban. While we note the Administration’s efforts to modify the Executive Order in light of various legal concerns, the revised Order still leaves many innocent lives at risk.”

The U.S. Catholic Bishops have long recognized the importance of ensuring public safety and would welcome reasonable and necessary steps to accomplish that goal.

However, based on the knowledge that refugees are already subjected to the most vigorous vetting process of anyone who enters the United States, there is no merit to pausing the refugee resettlement program while considering a further improvement to that vetting process.

Use this time to familiarize yourself with Catholic Social Teaching on immigration reform found here:

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