One of them, a lawyer, asked Jesus a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" And Jesus said, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:35-40
Late in Matthew’s account of the Gospel, Jesus is confronted by a lawyer who questions him as to what is truly important in the eyes and heart of God. The lawyer
was motivated by self-interest, jealousy, and even a bit of fear, as Jesus’ teachings had challenged his thinking about his own relationships. The response Jesus
delivers is clear and simple – love God, and love your neighbor. Coupled with the knowledge that Jesus consistently defined “neighbor” by word and action to
mean the poor, the vulnerable, the alien, and the outcast, this statement would have been a stumbling block for any who sought to marginalize the very people
Jesus proclaimed to be of value to God.
On March 6th, the president issued a revised executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement. Among other things, the order cuts the number of
refugees who can be resettled in the United States this year by more than half, dramatically reducing our response to the largest refugee crisis in history.
The order halts the reception of six nationalities, putting vulnerable children, women, and men from some of the most war-torn regions of the world at
further risk. The order suspends the refugee resettlement program for 120 days, and in so doing begins the dismantling of an infrastructure of world-wide ministry
that brings hope, offers opportunity, and saves lives.
Episcopal Migration Ministries is committed to embracing the command of Jesus, and his definition of neighbor. We recognize that there is little to fear
from those who have themselves fled violence for fear of their lives. We respect and value the dignity of every human being. Our interest is only in being “neighbor”
to those who need to know peace and comfort.
To accomplish this, we need your help. “Stand to Support Refugees” by making a donation to Episcopal Migration Ministries so that we can continue to care
for and welcome our newest neighbors. Reach out to refugee or immigrant groups in your community and tell them that you are happy that they are here,
that you are available to help – or simply that you are willing to be a friend. Pray for the victims of fear, jealousy, and self-interest. And, pray for those who
do this work. On behalf of the hundreds of professionals and volunteers who are Episcopal Migration Ministries, we thank you.
The Rev’d Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Director
Episcopal Migration Ministries