A refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo receives assistance from the JRS urban refugee program in Johannesburg. (Christian Fuchs — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)
All: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
"Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?"
And the King will say to them in reply, "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:37-40)
Many refugees now live in urban settings and cities across the world — Johannesburg, Bangkok, Panama City, Rome —host thousands of urban refugees living in shantytowns. Barred from legal employment and social services and often targets of xenophobia, urban refugees are forced to hide in the shadows. They truly represent “the least of Jesus’ sisters and brothers.”
A reflection from Angela, a refugee in Johannesburg:
"Life is hard here. I am alone. My husband died. I have no brothers, no sisters. I have two girls. I have to do it all myself. We have no money, no job, we don’t have food. I sometimes ask God how I left one place so bad to come here and now I am alone. I have nobody."
God continues to enter our world with all its wounds and brokenness. The eyes of urban refugees throughout the world call out to us, asking us to be the heart and hands of Jesus who emptied himself, casting his lot with the most marginalized among us.
All: Our Father.