By Sister Mary Shaw ASC

The scapegoat is alive and well. It has emerged from the desert and we Christians have given it a name: Syrian Refugees with the middle name of Fear and Revenge.

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Virginia Woolf once said that life is what we see in each other’s eyes.  But how do we see the eyes of those we label or demonize? Catholic bishops have asked that we not scapegoat Syrians fleeing for their lives.

Our world is beset and destabilized with violence. Yet there is hope. An immigrant seeking a home on the other side of the world is a call to us for an inn. But fear and revenge, disbelief and mistrust paralyze us and we fail to see their eyes and hear their cries.

We fail to encounter, talk to each other and trust.  We need to stand with the poor, the widow and orphan and those who have no voice, including Mother Earth.  We need to be silent and hear the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth, and to know that “I am God.” (Ps. 46)

1430832550293Today, we are being called by Pope Francis to a Holy Year of Mercy. May we use this time to seek and pray for peaceful solutions and a just response – not a reaction — to violence.

Pope Francis says that justice and mercy are “not two contradictory realities, but two dimensions of a single reality that unfolds progressively until it culminates in the fullness of love.”