President Obama Reflects Upon Pope Francis Washing the Feet of Refugees

President Obama stated:

I was struck last week by an image of Pope Francis washing feet of refugees — different faiths, different countries.  And what a powerful reminder of our obligations if, in fact, we’re not afraid, and if, in fact, we hope, and if, in fact, we believe.  That is something that we have to give.

His Holiness said this Easter Sunday, God “enables us to see with His eyes of love and compassion those who hunger and thirst, strangers and prisoners, the marginalized and the outcast, the victims of oppression and violence.”

To do justice, to love kindness –- that’s what all of you collectively are involved in in your own ways each and every day. Feeding the hungry.  Healing the sick.  Teaching our children.  Housing the homeless.  Welcoming immigrants and refugees.  And in that way, you are teaching all of us what it means when it comes to true discipleship.  It’s not just words.  It’s not just getting dressed and looking good on Sunday.  But it’s service, particularly for the least of these.

Quote of the Day

Pope Francis: “Indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence, and shipwreck. Whether large or small in scale, these are always tragedies, even when a single human life is lost.”


Pope Francis Washes the Feet of Refugees on Holy Thursday

via Gerard O’Connell:

“We are Muslims, Hindus, Copts, Evangelicals and Catholics, but we are all brothers and children of the same God who want to live in peace, integrated.” That is what Pope Francis told hundreds of asylum seekers at a center 25 miles from Rome, where he went on March 24 to draw the world’s attention to the dramatic plight of refugees and migrants in Europe and elsewhere.

He spoke briefly, without text at the Holy Thursday celebration held under a tent, before kneeling down and washing the feet of 12 of them—8 men and 4 women. Eleven of them were young migrants from six countries, including four Nigerian Catholic men, three Coptic women from Eritrea (two with babies in their arms), three young Muslim men—from Syria, Pakistan and Mali—and a young Hindu man from India. The twelfth was a young Italian woman who works at the center.

Quote of the Day

Pope Francis on refugees: “Our world, caught up in wars, violence, and various forms of injustice, is witnessing an unprecedented movement of peoples.  How we deal with them is a test of our humanity, our respect for human dignity, and above all our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in need.”


Pope Francis Will Wash the Feet of Refugees on Holy Thursday

via of America:

In a powerful symbolic gesture that is sure to resonate across the globe from Europe to the United States and Australia, Pope Francis will wash the feet of 12 refugees on Holy Thursday in Rome.

He will do so on March 24, at a center that assists migrants in the city. The Vatican has not yet disclosed the venue.

The breaking news comes at a time when many politicians in Europe, the United States and elsewhere are calling for the closing of the doors of their countries to refugees and migrants.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley Calls for Welcoming Refugees

Last week, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston offered an excellent response to the refugee crisis:

This Year of Mercy is an invitation to live our faith more fully by seeking ways to reflect God’s love and mercy in the way that we treat each other. In the beautiful parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches us that the true neighbor is the one who shows mercy. In the case of the Samaritan, it was not just a matter of reacting with compassion in the face of a suffering human being, it also required him to overcome any personal prejudice or animosity that he would have felt towards the religion and ethnicity of the wounded man. The Samaritans felt rejected and despised by the people of the chosen race, and often reacted accordingly, as when they refused Jesus and the Apostles hospitality. There was a Cold War between the Samaritans and the Israelites, and so the Samaritan’s act of kindness was at the same time an act of forgiveness, an act of renouncing prejudice and group hatred. Jesus ends the parable by saying: “Go and do likewise.”

As we mull over the debate about refugees, let us remember the doors that were closed in the face of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. We must ask our leaders to be vigilant and protect our citizens, but at the same time we cannot turn our back on so many innocent people who are hungry, homeless, and without a country. I do not believe it is a matter of choosing one course over the other, we can be both vigilant and compassionate. America is truly great when we do not succumb to fear and prejudice, but rather when we walk boldly in the path of the Good Samaritan.


There’s Nothing Christian About Blocking Non-Christian Refugees to the US

Millennial co-founder Christopher Hale has a new article at Time. He writes:

In light of the terrorist attacks on Paris Friday, some, including Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, have called on President Barack Obama to focus on accepting Christian refugees from Syria. But there’s nothing Christian about only prioritizing Christian refugees into the U.S. In fact, such an idea flies in the face of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus himself was an immigrant child in a strange land. When Mary and Joseph were looking for a place for Mary to give birth to Jesus, Bethlehem’s innkeepers denied the Holy Family a hotel for the night. After Jesus’s birth, Mary and Joseph fled with their refugee child to Egypt to avoid King Herod’s despotic rule. They did this even though their Judaism was a visible minority in the North African land full of indigenous and polytheistic beliefs.

If ancient Egypt can make room for refugees of religious minorities, why can’t the U.S. do so today?

You can read the full article here.