AND YOU WELCOMED ME: A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
July 7, 2022
One cannot celebrate liberty unless one is alive. The proliferation of guns encourages nothing but violence and what John Paul II called “the culture of death.” Major court decisions enhancing the personhood of companies and compromising the human rights of people contribute to the trivialization of human life and civil society. The constant rhetoric against minorities and the enactment of legislation threatening their right to freedom and self-determination has led otherwise well-meaning people to be suspicious and fearful. Civic, governmental, and religious leaders have a responsibility beyond their own self-interest.
The combination of hostile rhetoric and governmental policies attacking the human rights of immigrants is a case in point. For years, in order to advance their political ambitions, unscrupulous politicians have blamed immigrants for everything from crime to unemployment. Immigrants, who have every right to live where they please, are vilified for seeking what some of us have. Yet, corporations who require their labor are protected in the highest places of government. The hypocrisy is murderous.
Take, for example, the latest atrocity in San Antonio, TX. Over fifty immigrants from several countries were found dead in a trailer. Overcome with heat and the lack of food and water, they suffered in ways unbefitting human decency. These were our brothers and sisters seeking to find what we as a Nation are rapidly losing.
Religious, political, civic, and governmental leaders must do all in their power to stop the rhetoric compromising the dignity of minorities. They must foster and enact legislation and reforms by which this Nation of immigrants welcomes immigrants seeking life, liberty, and justice.
The Bible teaches us not to suppress the stranger and the alien within us (see Exodus 22: 21). Let us call to mind the words and the prayer Pope Francis spoke in response to the San Antonio tragedy: “Let us pray together for these brothers and sisters who died following their hope of a better life; and for ourselves, may the Lord open our hearts so these misfortunes never happen again.”
Gratitude to you, Holy Community, for all the times you welcomed the stranger, honored the dignity of others, and worked for the benefit of the poor and displaced. Thank you for all the times you worked to fulfill the dreams of the one who said, “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.”
As things begin to return to a new normal, we at The Interfaith Peace Project are here for you in any way that you need us. The Antioch Center is now open to fully vaccinated people on Wednesdays, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are vigilant and will adjust to any and all recommendations from the state and county. We will continue our work through Zoom as we add in person programs. If you would like to schedule an in person or Zoom program or would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call. You may call or email Tom at: