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Let us be about the kingdom of God

Sr. Patricia McCarthy, CND

The Statue of Liberty has been restored and reopened within the past few years. With all the patching and plastering, painting and preening, the pedestal still holds the famous poem by Emma Lazarus “The New Colossus.”

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The gospel also has been reprinted and retranslated within the past few years with much discussion and argument about words. Yet it still says clearly in every language,

““Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:34-38)

Federal money and federal decisions do not determine the actions of an ethical person and certainly not those of a Christian. For centuries we have enacted the nativity story when Joseph and Mary find the doors closed to them in Bethlehem. There is no room in the inn. Following a birth in a stable, they become forced into exile to a strange country to escape the oppression of Herod. Jesus himself said the “Son of Man has no where to lay his head.” Every man, woman or child in need of safety and refuge is the Christ child in the womb about to be born in Bethlehem, the toddler fleeing into Egypt with his parents, or the young preacher in need of food and shelter as he spread the good news. 

It is good news to welcome, to shelter, to feed, to embrace, to educate, to heal, to protect. Government support neither impedes nor advances the spread of this good news. Let us be about the kingdom of God in our cities and towns, our communities and parishes.


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