FIFTH DAY: CHRISTMAS NOVENA MASSES
CHAPTER IV: HEART OPEN TO THE WORLD
This particular chapter is focused on migration. Pope Francis said people are forced to migrate because of war, persecution, natural catastrophes, poverty and unscrupulous trafficking. The most crucial part of the journey of migrants is the adaptation to the new environment after they are ripped off from their communities of origin. They will try to find once again a new home away from home. I remember when I came first to Canada. I really felt inferior. My tendency is to hide and withdraw from the crowd. I do not want to engage in a casual conversation because of my poor command of language. One time while I was visiting my fellow priest, there were Canadian priests in the table but I was very silent, I could not speak so I sneaked out from the group only to be found by my friend washing the dishes instead of enjoying the company of my brother priests. He challenged me, come on Father; get out from your shell. I was lonely because I do not have yet friends around me. The Holy Father reminds the receiving community that migrants are to be welcomed, protected and integrated. However, the right balance should be properly ensured between the welfare and the citizen’s rights of the receiving country and the guarantee of welcome and assistance for migrants.
The first reading that we have for tonight speaks to us about Samson. He is a judge in the Old Testament. Typically, a judge is the one who runs a judiciary and in charge of making a verdict on a particular dispute. However, in the bible, judges are defenders of the chosen people of God against their oppressors. This is who Samson is. He is extremely a strong man. His supernatural strength of course came from God. His mission is to restore freedom, security and peace among the Israelites. He is the big brother for every Israelite.
We have a beautiful lesson to learn from Samson in connection with the theme of migration. We have to imitate this guy. We are being called to use our power and resources to protect the weak by welcoming them in our community. This is very evident in our parish and in our local community. The residents of this parish and community are the ones reaching out to the newcomers. They used to offer their immediate need. They wish them feel at home in our local community. Everybody feels safe wherever they are and definitely have a glimpse of a brighter future for the family. I think, you will be one with me in expressing my sincere gratitude and appreciation for all their goodness to us. You have helped us find a home away from home. We are no longer strangers to one another but friends and brothers and sisters to one another.
On the part of the immigrants, now that you are empowered, share your talents, time and treasure to reciprocate the goodness that we have received. Integrate yourselves by being active in both civic and spiritual activities of our community. Let us open ourselves to the world. Be more of actors and less of spectators. Christmas season is a great exchange of gifts. As we receive, may we also give.