Today in every nook and corner there are migrants and refuges that are seeking a home and loaves of bread. This Christmas Jesus is asking us with a question “Can you offer a place and a loaf for these little ones of mine?” Like the disciples were at a loss and powerless before a hungry and tired crowd, we too are perplexed with the question of Jesus but he turns to us, his chosen ones during this Christmas to do something different for the lost and hungry. We will find them in every corner of our towns and cities, helpless men, women and children. The Holy Father Pope Francis repeatedly is calling us to turn our own Christian gaze, to that uncountable number of migrants and refugees in all over the world. Those of us who have seen their condition and situation cannot describe because it is tragic. They are all looking for a home and loaf of bread, looking for a better future, try to migrate into countries who could welcome them. Many of them have lost their lives while try to cross into shipwrecks or dying out of cold and hunger. Many of them pay huge amount money to the agents in order to migrate, selling all that they have. It is now a universal question. How can we address it? What can we do during this Christmas time? The migrants and refugees are a great number and we wonder to whom shall we fix or turn our gaze? What we can do is to remove fear that is instilled in them by our indifference, pull down the walls that have been built by us to impede them to enjoy our charity and compassion. Let us not chase them back with hatred but welcome them with the Love of Jesus, which he brought down on the Christmas day. Many of us are willing and ready to do something concrete but we ask the same question of the disciples of Jesus: “Where are we to get bread enough in the desert to feed so great a crowd?”
Let us put on Jesus Christ: How do we look at the tragic events of the refugees and migrants? We need to do exactly what Jesus did by showing compassion…in short having the mind of Christ: “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days, and have nothing to eat; and I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” Jesus experiences ‘compassion’; he lets himself be touched by their empty stomach, by their suffering, to the point that he calls the disciples to himself: something must be done! We think of St. Francis who let himself be touched by the suffering of the lepers and then “showed mercy” to them.
During this Christmas, in whatever part of the society we find ourselves, in whatever situation we find, let us not pretend to not see, to pass by on the other side, ignoring these unfortunate ones by indifference, let us not build walls of fear and hatred. Let us be moved by compassion by the suffering experience by these people; let us open our eyes to look at their faces, which are covered with desperation and fear. Let us be bold to show charity and compassion as our Lord Jesus did during his time. Let us not tie ourselves down with lip services and fall into temptation of indifference. As Christians, we are called to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, supported by our strong Catholic Faith, let us identify ourselves with the compassionate heart of Jesus. The Lord Jesus during this Christmas, asking us the question: “How many loaves and food you have and you waste?” How many unused vacant places we have? How many means and how much money can you make available?” Our response will not be very different from that of the disciples: “We have enough for ourselves, we have our own needs, we got to pay for our children’s education, how can I accept someone in my house where we live? But Jesus is asking us: “Have them sit down,” “Have them enter!” Sharing and compassion, Charity and love will work a miracle once again!
What can we do? The question of immigrants, homeless, hungry, thirsty will continue but our Christian commitment should not be cold and slow. The others are not doing so why should we do, others do not welcome why should we open our doors? There could be many political and religious reasons but our reason is the COMPASSION OF JESUS to welcome them. It is our task to be close to the migrants and refugees, homeless and hungry; let us not make big announcements and declarations but let us show concrete Gospel action by welcoming them. Let us use our energies and influence to spread a mentality that is respectful of the dignity of every person, independent of religions and community. Let us encourage initiatives and program for refugees and immigrants, in order to create relationships of friendship and support. When Jesus asked the disciples how many loaves they had, he invited them to share not only the surplus, but also what seemed to be strictly necessary and indispensable for their life. The Lord is knocking with the same insistence at our door as well during this Christmas! Let us do our part and He will know how to do His. Let us read the words of Jesus: “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Mt 25:40)
Let us walk toward the Nativity of the Lord; let us carry something for Baby Jesus in order to offer for these unfortunate ones. Let us do it together and together we are able to generate signs of hope, of welcome, of generosity, just as Christ has done in giving his life for us. Let us do it together in witness and love.