Yesterday, I attended Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, where I do a lot of adult faith formation and RCIA, and where Elena sings at Mass when she is in town. The presider at Mass was my friend and colleague Fr. Dan Griffith, pastor of the parish.
The Gospel for that Mass, as I mentioned in my post yesterday, was St. Matthew’s account of the feeding of the multitudes. When Jesus’ disciples encourage him to send the people away so they can go to the village and buy food for themselves, Jesus replies, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food themselves.”
Fr. Dan suggested these words – “There is no need for them to go away” – are ones we should heed in connection with what is being referred to as “the US border crisis.”
These children who are fleeing violence in Central America, he said, are not “immigrants,” but are “refugees.” The UNHCR report “Children on the Run” released in March, as well as interviews with the children conducted by other agencies, reveals that many of them would be in extreme danger if they returned to their home countries.
As Catholic Christians, he preached, we are bound to hear Jesus’ words, which he paraphrased as “There is no need to send them away; give them some shelter yourselves.”
Fr. Dan acknowledged that we need immigration reform. But that, he said, should not help us from meeting the need of these children in need.
His words were not ones some people wanted to hear. But they are ones that needed to be said.