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JRS Online Retreat: Day 5 – A World in Need of Reconciliation
Friday, November 05, 2010


“The longing for reconciliation and reconciliation itself will be complete and effective only to the extent that they reach-in order to heal it-that original wound which is the root of all other wounds: namely sin.”

As you begin your prayer today, remember that you are in God’s holy presence. Become aware of how God gazes on you all the time, how tenderly and powerfully God regards you. Ask God for what you want in prayer:

Ask God to help you experience the reality of evil in the world, its sinful structures, and your own part in the world’s brokenness.



Reflections for Prayer

by Kenneth Gavin, S.J.
Former Jesuit Refugee Service/USA National Director

Washington DC, 5 November 2010 – In 2007, while I was assessing potential JRS responses to the needs of migrants along U.S.-Mexico border, a young 22 year-old Mexican, Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera, was shot and killed by a U.S. border patrol agent. Shortly before the shooting, Francisco had crossed the border into Arizona from Mexico with two brothers and a young sister-in-law. As a youngster in Mexico, his family had lived in a one-room wooden shack that had begun to collapse by the time he was a teenager. He had left Mexico for the U.S. when he was 17, determined to earn enough money to build his family. Little by little over the next five years he had succeeded in saving enough to build the beginnings of a new home for his family in Cuautla, Mexico. When he returned to Mexico in 2006, he stayed two months before returning to the U.S. so that he could make enough money to finish the kitchen.

Little is known about the actual facts of the killing. None of the four Mexicans were armed but, for one reason or another, the agent felt threatened by the group of young migrants. We can only surmise that Francisco and his brothers were terrified by the agent who symbolized the destruction of all their hopes and dreams. No doubt, the agent felt himself threatened by these young migrants who could have been criminals, drug smugglers or terrorists. I imagine that what happened on the border that cold day in January was simply the result of a destructive barrier of misunderstanding, discrimination and fear. Both the young Mexicans and the agent became unwitting victims of a broken immigration system. Two days after the killing, I celebrated Mass in a detention center north of Tucson. In the rear of the room, I met Francisco’s two brothers, dazed and brokenhearted as they quietly wept and prayed for their brother. 

In the confusion and the sadness of this experience, the Lord calls us to stand before the brokenness of our world and experience the deep desire for the reconciliation that only Jesus can bring. Jesus’ invitation to reconciliation knew no barriers. He dealt with the powerful, challenging them to a change of heart. He showed special love for the poor. He constantly proclaimed the kingdom of God that became for him a vision for a world in which all relationships are reconciled in God. Where in your world and your life do you experience the need and desire for reconciliation?  Bring this desire to the Lord.



Address God as a friend speaks to a friend. 

Talk to God about your response, your own needs and your deepest desires.

End your prayer with the Our Father, the prayer Jesus taught us.



Suggested Reading for Prayer

Ephesians 1:8b-10:

In all wisdom and insight, God has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to gather up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.



Quote
"The longing for reconciliation and reconciliation itself will be complete and effective only to the extent that they reach-in order to heal it-that original wound which is the root of all other wounds: namely sin."  ~ Pope John Paul II