CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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We belong to one family

The opening of the prayer which Jesus himself taught the disciples is: “Our Father.” It always reminds us that everyone belongs to one family. Differences in race, religion, economy, politics and culture must not cause hatred, hostility or conflict. Instead, these differences are opportunities for loving one another. This love calls us to make sacrifices and turn away from the greed for pleasures and selfishness, and to enter into the lives of migrants and refugees to get to know them, accept them and walk with them.
In his message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis reiterated his concern for the over 250 million migrants worldwide of whom 22.5 million are refugees. He said, “Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.”
In Hong Kong society, there are also many immigrants, migrant workers and even asylum seekers. How well do we understand the lives of these people who are ethnic minorities among a Chinese majority? What are their background stories? What difficulties or challenges do they currently face in Hong Kong?
Jesus Christ teaches us that love for the poor is a Christian’s top-priority. The poor include those living in poverty, those labelled as troublemakers by public opinion, and those marginalised in terms of housing, job-seeking, medical needs or education. Can you see the face of Jesus when you look at them? Where do they live? Are you willing to go and have a look?
The older generations of Hong Kong people were mostly immigrants coming who came here to make a living. Are we willing to accept that the new arrivals should enjoy basic protection? Instead of considering them a burden on society, we should help them to develop so that they can make use of their own special talents to integrate into and contribute to society. In doing so, we can enrich each other’s lives.
The pope’s message is not only intended to enable the faithful to practice their faith in their own society, but also appeals to the international community to fulfill four actions: “welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating” in their immigration, legal, education, employment and all social systems. The message calls us not to push migrants and displaced people towards places where they face persecution and violence, but to instead defend their inviolable dignity, ensure access to all levels of education for their children and young people, to support their integral human development and allow them to integrate fully into the life of the society that welcomes them. 
Pope St. John Paul II proposed this dream: “If the ‘dream’ of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees’ and migrants’ contribution is properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more a universal family and our earth a true ‘common home’.” May we be able to see the Lazaruses who are suffering in front of our house, welcome them to our homes to share an abundant life together, since we all belong to one family as the children of Our Father. SE

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