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August 8, 2013 WBAS Topics Prayer, WBAS Cat Prayers & Reflections, REL Topic- Social Doctrine, REL Topic - Morality

Remembering Refugees

One of my favorite Christmas songs is not likely to be played in malls or sung by jolly carolers. “Cry of a Tiny Babe” is by the Canadian singer/songwriter, Bruce Cockburn, and retells the Infancy Narrative from the Gospel of Matthew. The dark overtones of the account are brought to life as Cockburn describes Herod, a “paranoid man,” sending out death squads to kill all male children under the age of two. Mary, Joseph, and Jesus escape this gruesome fate when, after being warned by an angel, “head out to the border and get away clean.”


Cockburn’s language is intentional. Death squads and paranoid leaders are all too familiar in today’s world, and the race to cross a border into safer territory is still undertaken by a staggering number of people. The United Nations recently issued a report that noted the highest number of global refugees in over two decades – 45.2 million people! One U.N. commissioner put this in context: “Every time you blink, another person is forced to flee” (Antonio Guterres). The primary reason for such flight is war. In Syria alone, over 1.6 million people have fled the country’s conflicts. The terror, uncertainty, and loss are hard to comprehend.

What’s equally shocking is the fact that the plight of refugees is being addressed primarily by developing countries. While talk in the U.S. centers around erecting border fences, countries with far fewer resources are providing safe harbor for those in a flight for survival. It’s a humbling picture. If the Holy Family was seeking sanctuary today, would we open our arms to embrace them or turn them back towards Herod’s death squads? To be sure, the immigration issue is a thorny one and I hesitate to wade into those political waters. Nevertheless, the Gospel is clear. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).


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Bright Ideas

  • With your family or class read a story about one family’s experience as refugees. Discuss how you can contribute to the efforts by Catholic Relief Services or other agencies to help the millions of people forced to leave their homes.


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