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News

Archbishop homily at memorial Mass for migrants June 30

July 06, 2022 | posted by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS

Topics: Archbishop, In the Press, Breaking News


Archbishop homily at memorial Mass for migrants June 30

San Fernando Cathedral 


Dear people of God. Present here, we have bishops, clergy, leaders of different faith communities, people who are dedicated to serve the migrants, public servants, consuls from different nations, women and men in consecrated life. In a special way we recognize migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and many other nations present here, who have come to pray and show solidarity with what happened. Thank you for giving a human face to our migrant brothers and sisters.

The Lord says, in Exodus, “You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt. … If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely listen to their cry” (Ex 22:20.22). Not all sins have the same degree of intrinsic evil by which God is offended, nor are their consequences equally serious. The exploitation of the poor, and in particular of migrants -- who flee dramatic situations in search of opportunities and hope – is particularly grave.

The carnage by abandonment -- whether intentional or negligent -- of our 53 brothers and sisters killed on Monday, is one of those “sins that cry to heaven.” Anyone who is not outraged is complicit to at least some degree. They are God’s children. We grieve the loss of these immigrant brothers and sisters because they are members of God’s family. Humans like all of us, with families, with dreams, with despairs and who were abandoned. It wasn't an abandoned trailer; they were abandoned human beings.

Certainly, it is traders of death who consider lives as merchandise and ultimately as collateral damage. However, it is not permissible for anyone in our society to remain idle and look the other way in the face of the humanitarian crisis caused to unregulated migration. We all have a role to play in solidarity with people fleeing in search of opportunities for development. Seeking to live, to stay in existence.

Even though it is everyone’s responsibility, it falls primarily on the lay faithful, most of you brothers and sisters, to create the political incentives for elected representatives to fulfill their duty to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The people of faith represented with the various leaders here present, the lay faithful, must assume their responsibilities before God, and those baptized, to be faithful to their baptism fulfilling their duty to sanctify social life by organizing it according to Gospel values. Everyone must do their bit to be part of the solution.

Catholic Social Teaching provides moral guidance primarily for the laity in their duty of civic engagement. All social life is based on our shared responsibility to uphold human dignity and to pursue the common good, and we do it through the practice of solidarity and subsidiarity.

Brothers and sisters, many of us here are migrants or immigrants. Immigration is a natural phenomenon that arises from the supply and demand for labor and security. And we know the stories of so many people, maybe our own stories. It is like a stream of water. If it is not given a channel, it finds it naturally, but not in the right way. Migration is a natural human right. Likewise, the receiving country has the right and the duty to regulate it.

In very concrete ways, the path of immigrants often identifies with the itinerary of the beatitudes described in the gospel of Matthew. It does us good to hear their experiences beyond headlines and editorials. As much as possible, I suggest listening first-hand to the stories of immigrants. This morning I was at Catholic Charities, there were immigrants from Cuba, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Congo, and other places. I saw the interest of the people working there; how they were paying attention to their stories. They are treasures, we can learn, they can lead us to love, to love better and more. It is not uncommon to realize, in their lives, the values of the Gospel. They have traveled challenging spiritual journeys throughout their physical exodus. They are a great gift for receiving countries, like ours, which owes its greatness largely to its immigrant spirit.

As Pope Francis has said, these beloved men and women -- mostly young adults -- were following their hope of a better life. And we all know what it is to wish for a better life.

As we entrust them to God's merciful embrace, we are warned so that their lives have not been lost in vain. This tragedy must prevent others. “May the Lord open our hearts so these misfortunes never happen again.”

May we learn to walk through the journey of the beatitudes in our civic engagement, coming to realize that politics -- rightly understood -- is a service of communities, it’s the opposite of ideological confrontation. It is one of the highest forms of charity. It is a way of loving, serving the community, seeking the common good. It's a path that begins by loving our closest neighbor in order to be able to love even those we do not know.

May the hopes that these deceased brothers and sisters, who we love, be more fulfilled in heaven. We entrust them to God, through the intercession of Our Blessed mother, especially in her advocation of Our Lady of Guadalupe. May she, as mother, as a good mother, the best mother, guide them on their final journey to restful waters, where their souls are refreshed.

May the prayers of so many people of faith and the prayers of the entire world be a consolation for the family and friends of our 53 brothers and sisters. We believe that by the mercy of God,

theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

they will be comforted.

they will inherit the land.

they will be satisfied.

they will be shown mercy.

they will see God.

they will be called children of God.

theirs is the kingdom of heaven.