‘I need to say something about our Australian Government and Refugees... and of how much shame I feel being an Australian overseas.
January 19 and 26, 2014 mark two very important days for all of us. The first is World Day of Migrants and Refugees and the 26th is Australia day... Which I believe is the beginning of Refugees and migrants into Australia.
Today our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott is a Catholic, and one who publicly declares himself Catholic... as well as a number of others on our Australian Parliamentary front bench... and in a different arena are often heard speaking about the right to life.
As Catholics we must affirm the fundamental human right of persons to migrate for the sake of life. In the public arena we must give voice to those unable to make their cry of distress and oppression heard.
Today, our Gospel stories keep reminding me... by tending to the wounds of refugees and showing hospitality to migrants, we put into practice Jesus' commandment: to see him in those who need us, ‘for I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’[Mt25.35]
Messages are coming from many different sources - but they are loud and clear... To quote my own Bishop, the bishop of Rome, Pope Francis: ‘Dear friends, let us not forget the flesh of Christ which is in the flesh of refugees: their flesh is the flesh of Christ.’ [address, 24 May 2013]
My fellow Australian Catholics we are called: to nourish the faith and hope of migrants and refugees... to be open, welcoming, just and loving; ‘for I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’[Mt25.35]. This is our calling!
You know as I said earlier, we often talk about life issues - this is about the protection of life! And what we are doing on the high seas is a disgrace.
This Australia Day ... with open arms then, let us welcome our sisters and brothers who leave their homeland for our country, forced by political instability, violence and persecution... and together we journey toward the Kingdom - the reign of God.’
Fr Chris McPhee msc, Australian Missionary of the Sacred Heart, based in Rome serving on the General Council.
‘Spirituality is not just about religion, or church attendance, or fidelity to one or other legal requirement. Spirituality is understood to be an innate wisdom of the human heart that enlivens a zest for life, a search for meaning and purpose, a love for all that is good and beautiful, a passion to create a better world, a sensitivity to the life-energy (God, if you wish) that permeates the entire cosmos.’
Diarmuid O'Murchu msc Our World in Transition: Making Sense of a Changing World