01/01/2018 Deacon Lucio Caruso Homily

Rev. Randall Hubbard, Presider

Deacon Lucio Caruso, Homilist

Numbers 6:22-27

Galatians 4:4-7

Luke 2:16-21

WORLD DAY OF PEACE

Epiphany Catholic Church

Louisville, KY, USA

January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

So, anyone have some New Year's resolutions?  Please share with us.

Here is what the research says are the top five New Year's resolutions:

1. Exercise more (38 per cent)

2. Lose weight (33 per cent)

3. Eat more healthily (32 per cent)

4. Learn a new skill or hobby (15 per cent)

5. Spend more time with family and friends (12 per cent)

Pope Francis offers us and our world a resolution in his World Day of Peace message for 2018, titled: Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in search of Peace... From his own words...

Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night, is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence.

Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide: men, women, children, young and elderly, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace. In order to find peace, they risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, only to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.

In a spirit of compassion, let us make it our resolution to embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty, and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.

So, how do we give refugees, undocumented immigrants, DACA youth, or victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek?

Pope Francis, in his World Day of Peace Message, suggests a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.

“Welcoming” calls for expanding legal pathways for entry and no longer pushing migrants and displaced people towards countries where they face further persecution and violence. It demands balancing our concerns about national security with concern for fundamental human rights. Scripture reminds us: Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

“Protecting” has to do with our duty to recognize and defend the inviolable dignity of those who flee real dangers in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their being exploited. In particular, are women and children who find themselves in situations that expose them to risks and abuses that can even amount to enslavement. The Scripture is clear: The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the orphan and the widow.

“Promoting” entails supporting the integral human development of migrants and refugees. Francis stresses the importance of not only meeting their basic human needs, but ensuring access to all levels of education which will enable them to realize their potential, and contribute to their new homelands. Scripture teaches: God loves the foreigner residing among you; so give them food and clothing; and love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”

“Integrating” means allowing refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them; a process of mutual enrichment, where we are the recipients of their courage, tenacity, skills, creativity, and the treasures of their own cultures. Saint Paul expresses it in these words: You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people.

We might actually realize some peace in the world if we were to adopt Francis' four-fold strategy as a New Year's resolution!

But there is even a greater reason to take to heart our Pope's words, one that connects this issue of our time to the very reality of Christmas and today's solemnity of Mary.

The Incarnation of our Lord was a great migration: God left heaven and came to earth! Interestingly, the same push factors that force people in our own time to leave home in search of safety and peace led God to abandon heaven.

But it was for our safety and peace, and the world's salvation, that the Son of God was pulled from heaven into the womb of Mary, whom we honor today as God Bearer, the Mother of God! It was she who gave refuge to the migrant Son of God! Can we do any less for the migrants of our day?

 

iTunes subtitle: 
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God