Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Immigration and today's readings

Sister Maryann Mueller, CSSF, Justice and Peace Coordinator of the Felician Sisters of North America, notes that today’s reading “provide us with a glimpse of the transforming power of love. The night before he would die, Jesus taught us a lesson that may be the most life-giving for us and for the world: ‘I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.’ (John 13: 34)”
Jesus knew that acting with love is the essential element that gives life meaning. Acting with love has the power to transform us as individuals and is vital to empower us to live to our God given potential. In the early Church, Paul and Barnabas proclaimed to the people of Antioch the gifts and blessings of "what God had done with them" (Acts 14:27) as they experienced the transforming power of love.
However, it is not merely the individual who changes in light of God's love. The person's perspective of "other," of how the person sees the world and all with whom we share our world, is also transformed. "This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13: 35) God promises that whenever we seek to act with love out of a desire to follow his example we will see with new eyes, "...the old order will pass away...Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. 21: 4-5A)
Almost 20 years ago, the U. S. Catholic Bishops issued a statement on immigration under the title reflected in today's Gospel, "This is my commandment: Love one another as I love you." Debate about humane and comprehensive immigration reform continues. Viewpoints and conversation at times disregard or diminish the basic dignity of other human beings made in the image and likeness of God. As Christians, we follow One who as a child resided as a refugee in a foreign country. How are we called as Christians to act with love towards our brothers and sisters born in other lands?
Jesus understood that there would be times when we would all find it difficult to live up to the commission to love one another. He assures us that as we seek to love as He loves "God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them..." (Rev. 21: 3) Only by prayer and by staying focused on the One who loves us can we recognize our God given dignity and treat all our brothers and sisters with the same dignity.
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