“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear…”
1 John 4, 18
The Scripture readings on Wednesday, January 9th reflect on love and fear. In the first reading from the First Letter of John, we are named and claimed as God’s beloved and “if God so loved us, we also must love one another.” In the gospel from Mark, the disciples are caught in a storm at sea. Jesus walks toward them on the water but the disciples are terrified thinking it is a ghost. Jesus says, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid (Mark 6, 45-52).”
Many live in fear today. What are we afraid of? What are the fears that keep us from receiving the perfect love God desires for us? Love and fear. Some say the opposite of love is hate. But we believe fear is the opposite of love because fear fuels the forces of hate that cause us to build walls rather than open doors.
Once again, the President of the United States has fueled the fears of many by making a speech from the Oval Office—a setting normally reserved for presidents to deliver solemn news to the country rather than a stage for a policy debate on immigration—in which he once again stigmatized men, women, and children who are coming to this country to escape violence, poverty, and abuses of their human rights in their countries of origin. The Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Companions, Volunteers and Amici, as people of faith, as people committed to a charism and a spirituality that believes in the dignity and dreams of all human beings, call on all people to reject the language of fear from our politicians that fuels hate rather than reflects the values of our nation of immigrants.
Our Corporate Stance for Comprehensive Reform of the Immigration System reflects, “As Missionaries and Companions of the Precious Blood, we are compelled by our charisms of reconciliation, hospitality, and ministry of the Word…. we affirm the rights of all immigrants to be treated with dignity and respect. We call on all government leaders to work together to establish compassionate and comprehensive immigration reform legislation.”
This debate about a wall has gone on for too long and has now partially shutdown the government causing even more people to be harmed by the fearful policies of exclusion. As stated in our Corporate Stance on Immigration Reform, we encourage all people to be actively engaged in the political process that will:
- Provide a timely path to legal status for undocumented persons in this country;
- Preserve family unity as a cornerstone for our national immigration policy;
- Provide for just and legal paths for immigrant laborers to come and work in the U.S.;
- Restore due process protections to our immigration enforcement policies; and
- Address the root causes of migration within sending countries and explore long-term solutions.
In the provincial statement we issued June 8, 2018, we stated, “The soul of our nation is at stake. When we treat refugees with contempt rather than compassion, our souls are at risk. May we reclaim the very best in ourselves and in our nation as we seek to recognize the image of God and the person of Christ in every human being and treat them with reverence, respect, and the dignity they deserve as a child of God.”
As individuals, as a community of faith, and as people sent by the blood of Christ, we will speak out against the fear that fuels hate. We call on all to “take courage” and see how the love of God compels us to be people of love who drive out all fear as we welcome those who seek refuge with compassion and hope.
With peace in the blood of Christ,
Joseph F. Nassal, C.PP.S., Provincial Director