Time to Make Clear Choices
We are living in an unprecedented time in our nation’s history. Many of us now feel like strangers in the land that we have known and loved, with its faults, its limitations, and its treasured values of freedom and welcome to all. Day after day, Executive Orders are issued that challenge both our faith values and our American values. These include orders to build a wall, further militarize the southern border, stop refugee resettlement, ban all travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, and more. Fortunately, pushback has been strong. Thousands of people have shown up at airports to welcome refugees; thousands in cities across the country have gathered to protest. Leaders of the US Bishops Conference have issued statements opposing Executive Orders which threaten vulnerable people seeking refuge from violence in both the Middle East and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America.
This is a time that calls for action by all of us. We can all do something even if we cannot march or participate in public protests. We can all make phone calls to legislators. We can organize refugee support groups in our parishes that reach out to refugees and to Muslims. We can educate ourselves and others about the Executive Orders and their impacts on vulnerable people. We can visit the website of the USCCB to see a statement of solidarity with the Muslim community, and visit the FAN website to find the FAN statement in support of refugees and suggested actions. As Christians, as Franciscans, we pray, we organize, we advocate, we reach out to sisters and brothers impacted by harmful Executive Orders that play falsely on people’s fears.
This week’s scriptures challenge us to make clear choices. Sirach tells the people, to choose; God has set before them fire and water, life and death, good and evil. It is theirs to choose if they are to live. In the Gospel, Jesus calls us to do more than the minimum of obeying the law. The “shalt -nots” of the law are not abolished but are a minimal response to his “good news.” “But I say to you. . .” goes beyond the commandments to the law of love, to what is in the heart. He concludes, “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Now is a time for clear choices in defense of our faith values and American values. To what do I say ”Yes?” To what do I say “No?” What actions do I take to verify my “Yes” and my “No?”
For reflection: February 12 is also the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. This quote is as applicable in 2017 as it was 150 years ago: “I dream of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the best last hope of earth.” What will I do today to restore that dream?
Sr. Marie Lucey
FAN Director of Advocacy
Spend some time in reflection this week to discern what actions you can take in defense of our faith values and our American values.
Spirit of Wisdom, Spirit of Compassion, Spirit of Courage, fill us with your Spirit, we pray. .
For all immigrants and refugees, for our Muslim brothers and sisters, who live in anxiety and fear, we pray…