EPIPHANY 4 January 29th., 2017: nor thy stranger that is within thy gates
A homily by Father Richard Sorfleet, Saint John Fisher Eucharistic Catholic Mission, Renfrew ON
There are different translations depending upon the version of Scriptures being used of the term 'stranger' with some using alien and others immigrant. The message however is the same on how to treat people not born in the land.
For a nation constantly invoking God and God's blessing and promoting Christian values as a cornerstone of its world-view, it is shameful that God's Word is so conveniently forgotten when it becomes an inconvenient contradiction to ill-prepared and poorly thought-out policy.
The traditional epistle for Epiphany 4 [Roman 13: 1- 7] is on state authority and our required attitude towards it as God's instruments of social peace and good government; nevertheless, the whole reading is qualified at the outse in verse 1 with 'for there is no power but of God'.
Our rendering unto Caesar does not include our condoning or our approval of things which are clearly contrary to God's words and commandments.
And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not do him wrong. 34 The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt
Leviticus 19: 33- 34 ASV
That clearly means showing kindness, respect, generosity and impartiality on immigrants, dual nationals, visitors and residents whether legal or illegal, where bigotry, hate and racism have no place in a godly society that those in authority are called to uphold.
Further Exodus 20 calls out those who indulge in the manufacture of 'alternative facts' and false news [once called disinformation] in the promotion of their fashionable anti-immigrantism, and its dissemination.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Ex 20: 19
It is worth recalling Christ's answer to the lawyer's question in Luke 10: 29
But he, desiring to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?
where Jesus recounts the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and concludes with
36 Which of these three, thinkest thou, proved neighbor unto him that fell among the robbers? 37 And he said, He that showed mercy on him. And Jesus said unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
What sort of godly society are we when we see as our neighbors only those who agree with our racial, social or personal political convictions and are joyful and generous in giving loaves, eggs and fish to our children, yet toss scorpions, stones and serpents to those who are not?
For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
MT 10: 46
Walls also exist in hearts and minds and we construct them always at our own cost. The brick and mortar walls may keep the aliens out of our gates, but those which are erected in minds also keep God out of hearts.
In other words we are banning God each time we use false witness and promote wrong to ban those we do not like who are within or at our gates without just cause or due process with open malice and cheap prejudice expressed on scraps of paper.
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
ROM 13: 10
And that should be written in our hearts and reflected in our laws if we truly see and believe ourselves to be a godly people.
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