Loving all our neighbors

It seems every time I turn on the news, there is another story about politicians complaining about people coming across our southern border. Interestingly enough, there is rarely any mention of the people coming across our northern border which has far more locations to pass unchecked than the southern border. This was highlighted recently by the massive hunt for the Lewiston Maine shooter when news agencies speculated that he might have crossed into Canada unnoticed through one of the many entry points that are not guarded.

This Sunday’s first reading talks about how we ought to treat those who come to our borders and those who live among us that are not from the United States. God is very clear when he says, “You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.” God did not make a mistake when He spoke these words. Yet, many Christians today are more than willing to ban immigrants, abuse them, cuss them out, demand they leave our nation, and harass them at every turn. What does God say is the punishment for oppressing the alien? “If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry. My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.”

God is not playing around! So why do so many Christians today feel it is their right to abuse the foreigner among us? The same reason that other nations feel it is their right to commit genocide against people whose land they stole. They view themselves as God’s chosen people with a divine right to abuse, kill, harass, and oppress others who they see as beneath them.

But this is not the case! God was talking to Israel in the first reading. He was warning His Chosen People not to molest or oppress foreigners. How much more will He punish Christians for the same offence?

Jesus in the Gospel reminds us that there are two great commandments. One is to love God will all your heart and the other is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Again, Jesus is clear. The whole law and prophets depend on these two commandments. You will not treat foreigners or strangers badly is you love them as yourself. You will not cuss out your neighbor or tell someone to go back to where they came from if you love them as yourself.

You will instead care for them, protect them, give them food and water, you will defend them against abuse if you love them as yourself. It is high time for Christians to start acting like the person they claim to follow. It is time we start loving our neighbors as ourselves. Either that or finally admit that we are not truly Christians.

Me and my parish will continue to help those most in need. We will continue to be a sanctuary for those being abused and harassed. We will love our neighbors as ourselves each and every day. That is the call of Christ, and that is the mission of Saint Francis Parish.

Pax et Bonum,

Bishop Greer