JRS Colombia accompanies formerly displaced residents in communities along the rivers Calima and Choco outside of Buenaventura. (Christian Fuchs — JRS/USA)
All: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Yet it was our infirmities he bore, our sufferings that he endured. (Isaiah 53:4)
Fr. Mark Raper S.J., former JRS International Director reflects: “Surely the only way to learn about the hope of a refugee is to listen to him or her. Our biggest temptation on seeing the distress of the refugees…is to begin projects, to give material things, to decide what the refugees need.
"They often arrive in exile without shoes, with only one torn shirt, hungry and without a clear plan. But they did not undergo this experience in order to get a shirt or shoes. Their human experience calls for respect. They are traumatized by violence, lonely, rejected, exhausted in body certainly, but also exhausted by losing their place in a stable society, and sometimes feeling guilty about what they did in order to survive.
"They want to be understood, to be heard. Their frequent question is: Why is God doing this to me? They have a right to ask this question. But it cannot be asked unless someone listens. This is our primary role, to listen to the questions, to the longing and the fundamental human need of the refugees."
Where have we acted in our lives without first listening?
All: Our Father.