Migrants: Strangers and Brothers

10/09/2018 by SIMN

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Rome, September 9, 2018 - Easy to turn your face, twist your nose, show the facade of boredom and separation, or just cross the street to not find them face to face. Easy to direct an oblique look, crossed, uncompromising, in a cloudy manner or with an air of superiority, measure them up and down, watching and revealing an indisputable attitude of contempt. Easy to close in a cold and poisonous hermeticism, ignore them with indifference, pretend that they do not even exist as human beings. It’s easy to ignore their passage, as if they were a band of extra-terrestrials, lost and wandering, on the face of the planet. It’s easy to gather a hostile and xenophobic group, hide the cowardice in the unison voice of the choir, and shout: "What are you doing here, we do not need you, go back to where you came from!"

It is more difficult to understand why they are on this side of the Mediterranean, this side that is "ours" and not "theirs"? Why did they leave their homeland, family and friends, risking their lives in the crossing of the whitewater? Why did they offer their last pennies, paying traffickers with the dream of reaching the opposite shore of the sea that leads to the supposed Eldorado? Why, seemingly defenseless, without root and without destiny, do they cross the streets of our cities in search of a coin, a piece of bread, an opportunity to work, or a place that can serve as "direction"? But also in search of an open look, of a wide smile, of a friendly word, of a touch of hope, of a window oriented towards the blue sky, of a door through which to pick up the pieces of the broken dream, and start again...

It is much more difficult to look them in the eyes, face to face, to be predisposed to encounter and dialogue, to accept confrontation of ideas, visions, customs and values. "Exchange a warm hug, listen to their stories," waste time "with the tradition of their cultural and religious expressions, extend solidarity to their wounds and scars, interlacing their knowledge with ours, letting themselves be challenged by the novelty of whoever comes from outside to make of the encounter a reciprocal crossroads, in the sense of looking for alternatives to the way of living and relating in this world that is globalized and, at the same time, instigates and distills intolerance...

It is almost impossible to open the door of the heart, of the house and of the community, family or ecclesial. Through a simple invitation, make this mere stranger a new acquaintance, a brother, sharing with him the roof and the table. Calling you to be part of our conversation wheel, our friendship and leisure group, our moments of coexistence, relaxation and party. Divide with him the "joys and hopes, anguish and sadness", sharing the same food and hope itself. Recognize that we are all foreigners on the roads of the world, on the way to the definitive homeland...

What seems impossible to human beings, however, God makes it impromptu possible." Arming his tent among us", the Son revealed that one is only Father and Teacher, and that, if the Father is unique, so is the "our daily bread". That we are all brothers and sisters, and no border can separate those who seek the Kingdom of Heaven. That, like Mary of Nazareth, if we are willing to open our hearts and souls to God’s plans, he "makes in us wonders that will forever be remembered and celebrated from generation to generation." It reverses the course of history, "knocking down the mighty from the thrones and exalting the humble."

The divine project of light, love and peace; forgiveness, mercy and wisdom - far from being realized only after death - begins today, here and now. It begins in each present moment, as a chronological, true, dynamic and opportune time. Its fullness is reserved beyond the human trajectory, without a doubt, but its daily construction, takes place not above or outside history, but within its very attacks and its coordinates, in the very act of weaving facts, attitudes, relationships and behaviors. That is why welcoming the foreigner who knocks at the door is letting the will of God break into our existence. He, the foreigner, leads us to the total and absolutely Other, Unfathomable and Unknown. It follows that the migrant, moved by faith and hope, marches and the rhythm of history march. Its restless movement breaks boundaries, questions and challenges the status quo, uncovers horizons for new and different alternatives. Prophet, architect and protagonist of a morning always recreated.

Fr. Alfredo J. Gonçalves, cs