“Behold, I will bring them back from the land of the north;
I will gather them from the ends of the world,
with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those
they shall return as an immense throng.
They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them…”
(from Jer 1:7-9)
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with
Although they go forth weeping…they shall come back rejoicing...
(from Ps 126)
Pondering the Word…
"When we look
into the face of every single refugee, especially the children and women, we
can feel their suffering.
should be that they return and help rebuild their countries."
Home - Poem
by Warsan Shire
no one leaves
home unless home is the mouth of a shark…you only leave home when home won't
let you stay.
no one leaves
home unless home chases you…
something you ever thought of doing until the blade burnt threats into your
and even then
you carried the anthem under your breath…
you have to
understand that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is
safer than the land…
no one spends
days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled means something more than
no one crawls
under fences, no one wants to be beaten, pitied, no one chooses refugee
I want to
but home is the mouth of a shark; home is the barrel of the gun
and no one
would leave home unless home chased you to the shore
told you to quicken your legs, leave your clothes behind, crawl through the
desert, wade through the oceans…
no one leaves
home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear saying “leave, run away from
I don’t know
what I've become but i know that anywhere is safer than here.
you to read this whole poem, which I have shortened for space reasons, and
abridged so as not to disturb—which is precisely what the Somali poet
intends--her words are real and strong, and worth prayerful reflection and
“Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love…Immorality or any
impurity or greed must not be mentioned among you…no obscenity or silly or
suggestive talk, but instead, thanksgiving.”
Immorality and greed…silly,
suggestive talk, obscenity. You’d think Paul would recommend prayer and fasting,
but instead, he says, ‘be thankful.’ Think about that. The idea of being
grateful as a solution to what ails us emotionally has really taken hold in
secular writings over the past several years, but wisdom figures and mystics
have been preaching it for centuries—Meister Eckhart says it is the only prayer
that really matters. Most of us say thank you to others without even thinking
about it. How about spending today being more aware of things we are (or should
be) thankful for: the car starting, the food we eat, clean clothes, a hot
shower. Consciously saying thank you allows us to engage God and others on a
deeper level. Yes, it is good count our blessings, but it’s even better to say a
heartfelt thank you to the source of all of them.
Jesus said, "What is
the Kingdom of God like?”
Jesus uses similes like a
mustard seed or yeast, examples to which the people of his time could relate. I
wonder what examples he might use today: a tiny computer chip that opens up the
whole world? A minuscule cell capable of curing disease? This is a good gospel
passage to keep handy, particularly with children. When they have school
activities like growing plants; or when they have an idea for a charitable
project that comes to fruition. It’s good to point out to our children the small
things that work to bring about the Kingdom. Let’s all try today to do the
little things that can make a big difference!
“Slaves, be obedient to your
human masters with fear and trembling…Masters, stop bullying, knowing that both
they and you have a Master in heaven and that with him there is no partiality.”
Slavery was an
unfortunate fact of life in Jesus’ times, a fact that still exists today. We may
not call it slavery, but millions live in bondage imposed by poverty, addiction,
trafficking, etc. God shows no partiality, but God will judge. What will you do
to lessen the burden modern slavery imposes on your brothers and sisters?
"Blessed are the poor in spirit…they who mourn…the meek…they who hunger and
thirst for righteousness…
the merciful…the clean of heart…the peacemakers…they who are persecuted for the
sake of righteousness…”
“Christianity has been reproached
for trying to deceive people about the reality of earthly suffering by
comforting them with the prospect of heavenly blessedness awaiting them. Jesus
was not thinking of vague future bliss. For he does not say: Blessed eventually
will be those who now suffer. Rather, he promises: Blessed are you now, right
this minute while you are suffering.”(Albert
Schweitzer) We are all saints in the making…now, right this minute.
“Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide
with him in love…”
Do you trust God? That might seem
like a strange question, but consider it for a moment. What does it really mean
to trust God? I might trust God on a macro level, but how often do I engage God
on the day-to-day decisions I am called to make? The author of Wisdom says if we
trust God we will understand truth. That’s another word up for grabs these days.
We may feel like Pilate: “What is truth?” (Jn 18:38) Election Day in the US is
right around the corner, a good time for us to engage God on a deep, thoughtful,
and specific level. What is truth? Pay attention to Jesus’ words today in Mt 25
about what he sees as the truth.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at
table in the place of honor…Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest
place so that when the host comes to you he may say, 'My friend, move up to a
higher position.' Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the
table.” (Lk 14:1, 7-11)
This passage begs a few
questions: Wouldn’t it be more humble if the person stayed in the lower
position? Why would you want to have their egos fed by the esteem of companions?
(I can see Jesus rolling his eyes at me again—‘Stop being so nit-picky!’) Jesus
is great at reading his audience. He knows how to talk to the poor in language
they understand, and he knows how to talk to the rich and powerful as well. So
what is Jesus saying to us? Where do I see my position in the great banquet
hall? (BTW, this has nothing to do with sitting in the front pew at church.J)
Does the idea of being “chosen” cause me to think I am better than those I
perceive as “not chosen?” I can’t tell you the number of times I catch myself
feeling entitled, having certain expectations based on my lot in life. Try to be
aware today of times when entitlement gets in the way of humility.
Ireland has a passion for working with parents and anyone who struggles to
maintain a sense of God’s love and peace amid the day-to-day challenges of life.
She has a master’s degree in Spiritual and Pastoral Care from the Pastoral
Counseling department at Loyola, Maryland, with a focus on developmental
psychology and spiritual guidance. Rooted in Ignatian spirituality, she is
a writer, retreat and workshop leader, and presenter on topics such as pastoral
parenting, “letting go,” and finding the spiritual in the midst of everyday
life. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland with her husband, Mark and children,
David and Maggie.
We hope you
enjoy "Come and See!"
and we welcome your input. Please contact Elaine Ireland at
with questions, comments, and responses.
© 2009 - 2018, Elaine H. Ireland - Images@FaithClipart.com