As I have often shared in other postings, I am the proud son of immigrant parents who came to this country to seek a better life for my sister and me. This basic fact has shaped every aspect of my life, for which I am most grateful.
While I was growing up, my father would often tell stories of his youth which I often doubted, given the starkness and poverty that he described. It was only when I grew older and saw the very places that he described, long abandoned by my extended family because of their poor conditions, did I come to appreciate the hardships with which my parents grew up. What I took for granted as a child was for a luxury for my parents, including having a bathroom within the confines of their home. Escaping such poverty is understandable for anyone to aspire to achieve. To do it for the sake of another is truly noble.
Christ the Lord was no stranger to living as an immigrant. Recall that the Holy Family needed to escape the slaughter of the innocents at the hand of Herod, who was determined to kill the child he feared would become his rival. The Lord spent time as an immigrant and refugee in Egypt, along with Our Lady and St. Joseph, while the danger persisted. Of course, as God, all the world was His, as all the people of this world remain His. Yet, He was welcomed as a stranger in a foreign land.
As followers of the same Lord, despite our political differences regarding policy and how best to welcome the stranger in our midst, we are invited to stand with those sisters and brothers who are immigrating to seek a better life, freedom from poverty or safety from persecution. For my part, I have no doubt that I will do so, since my Lord was once an immigrant and so too was my family. For as Matthew 25 reminds us, to fail to welcome the least of our brethren into our midst is to fail to welcome Christ.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos! Do not miss Bishop Frank’s video: What Does it Mean to Stand with Christ?