MASS IN RECOGNITION OF ALL IMMIGRANTS 2013

Homily ·Ordinary time
By Archbishop Gomez
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
July 21, 2013


My brothers and sisters,1

It is wonderful to be here to pray with all of you today.

As we know, this has been a week with tension and high emotions here in our city and in cities across the country. Our hearts go out to all the families who suffer as a consequence of violence.

So today we want to keep praying for one another and for our city and for our country. We want to ask God for more patience, for more understanding, for real peace.

Pedimos hoy a Dios Nuestro Señor, que nos ayude a ser mensajeros de paz y reconciliación en estos momentos en los que nuestro país está experimentando dolor por la violencia. Que nos conceda la fortaleza de saber perdonar y nos haga instrumentos de verdad, paz y amor.

Also, I know many of you are deeply involved in the political process to bring justice to our immigration system. I want to say thank you for everything you are doing for the least of our brothers and sisters!

There is a time for politics and a time for prayer. Prayer should always come first, before our political action. Because we always want to make sure we’re trying to do God’s will and not our own will.

Esta Misa es un momento especial de oración. Un tiempo para ponernos en la presencia de Dios y abrirle nuestros corazones pidiendo su misericordia y su amor. Un momento de reflexionar sobre nuestras vidas y nuestro país a la luz de la Palabra de Dios, que acabamos de escuchar.

The readings today from Sacred Scripture remind us that God comes to us in the person of the stranger, in the person of the immigrant.

That’s the constant teaching of the Bible — from beginning to end.

The first reading we heard today was from the Bible’s first book, the Book of Genesis. We see the noble father of Judaism, Abraham, who is also our father in Christ.2

Abraham doesn’t know that these three visitors who come to his tent in the heat of the day are from God. But he does know that every person is made in the image and likeness of God.

Abraham, en la primera lectura, recibe a los extranjeros con su corazón abierto. Les habla de buena manera. Les ofrece un lugar para descansar. Les lleva agua para que se limpien los pies del polvo del camino. Su esposa Sara cocina el mejor de los alimentos para ellos.

For Judaism, hospitality and care for the stranger are a sacred duty. The same thing is true for Christianity. In the letters of the apostles we read: “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.”3

We are a people who know the truth — that we are all God’s children. That our lives are sacred and special to God. Every one! We don’t get our dignity from having the proper documents or the right paperwork. Our human dignity comes from God.

That’s why this country is unique. Because the missionaries and statesmen who founded this country believed what Abraham believed and what Jesus taught. That all men and women are created by God — with equal dignity, rights and freedom.

Nuestro país siempre ha sido una nación de inmigrantes. Un faro de esperanza, una luz que brilla en la oscuridad. Una puerta dorada que se abre a los que buscan una mejor vida para sus familias.

That’s what we’re working for in our politics. That’s what we’re praying for today. We pray today for courage to keep working for what is right and what is true.

What is right and true is that immigration is not about statistics. We are talking about souls not statistics. We are talking about mothers and fathers who without warning won’t be coming home for dinner tonight, who may never see their families again.

We are talking about women suddenly left as single mothers to raise their children in poverty. We are talking about undocumented kids who dream of going to college.

We need to help our neighbors remember that America has always made room for people from many cultures, speaking different languages, with different beliefs, customs and traditions.

In the Gospel today, we heard Jesus call out, “Martha! Martha!” Today, too, he is calling our names. He is asking each of us to look into our hearts.

When we think about this beautiful Gospel of Mary and Martha, we are aware that in his human life Jesus was always a stranger.

He came into this world as a child in the womb. And there was no room for him at the inn. When he was an infant, his family — his mother Mary and Joseph her husband — was driven into exile by political violence.

They lived as immigrants and refugees in Egypt. Throughout his whole ministry Jesus never had a home. He had no place to lay his head.4

Jesus se hizo extranjero por nosotros. Pare enseñarnos como amar a nuestro prójimo. Nos enseñó a encontrarlo a El – a encontrar a Dios- en los pobres, los prisioneros, los inmigrantes.5 Porque ellos son los más débiles de la sociedad. Porque son los que más necesitan de nuestra protección y de nuestro cuidado.

Jesus said God will judge us by our love for him in the least of our brothers and sisters. So immigration is not only a matter of politics. It’s a matter of our relationship with God.

We pray today that God will change our hearts — and change the hearts of our neighbors and our leaders. We especially pray for our elected officials that they have the courage to address the needs of our immigrants with a Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill as soon as possible.

Pedimos hoy que Dios Nuestro Señor nos dé a todos un nuevo compromiso de caridad y de hospitalidad. Un nuevo convencimiento de nuestra obligación de luchar en contra de la injusticia y de la crueldad. Para hacer que nuestro país sea una sociedad en la que nadie es un extraño a los ojos de Dios!

In this sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of the Angels, let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to watch over the immigrants in our midst. May God’s Holy Angels accompany them always on their journey to justice.

1. Readings (Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C): Gen. 18:1-10; Ps. 15:2-5; Col. 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42. 

2. Gal. 3:29; James 2:21.

3. Heb. 13:2.

4. Luke 2:7; Matt. 2:13-15; 8:20.

5. Matt. 25:31-46.

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