October 25, 2020

Do not molest or oppress aliens, strangers, widows, orphans, the weak and the vulnerable. This injunction from today’s first reading brings us right back to the heart of the message of Christianity. “Whatsoever you do to the least of my people that you do unto me” Matt: 25:40.  In a world where only the strong have any chance of survival, where the rich and powerful write the rules and where might is right, Christians are called to be a voice for the voiceless and hope for the hopeless. In the second reading, Saint Paul boasts of the Christians of Achaia and Macedonia as models of the faith which he preached. These two communities modeled love, compassion and generosity in mutual support for one another. As we watch in our world today, how immigrants are humiliated, how children running for their dear lives are locked in cages like animals, one wonders whether that church of the poor and church for the poor still has a voice. It is impressive that the church has continued her fight for the right of the unborn. Nothing could be more noble. At the same time, we are called to apply the same amount of passion and compassion in the defense of the lives and rights of all. All Lives matter: unborn, blacks, whites, citizens, immigrants, refugees, gays and lesbians. All lives! Nothing that we do as a church can replace this mission to advocate for and defend all lives. Over the past few days, Nigerians of West Africa have been agitating for their right to live in a free society that respects the rights and dignity of everyone. That peaceful protest should attract the attention of the church as well as world leaders. The agitations of Nigerians for survival should get media coverage in the same way that a pin drop on the streets of Paris does. This should not be a fight for Nigerians only. Today’s gospel reminds us that the love of God and neighbor are the two pillars upon which the commandments stand. The question we must continue to ask ourselves each day is: who is my neighbor?

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