In our world people have been migrating due to various reasons. Among these people, some of them migrate in search of a better life. For instance to get better jobs, properties, or prestige people go from place to place crossing their geographical, psychological, and emotional boundaries. These sorts of migrations are optional and people make conscious decisions before they migrate.
But there is another group of people who are forced to migrate due to various other reasons beyond their control. According to the Bible Jesus’ parents had to migrate due to one of these reasons. When the king Herod ordered to kill infants to get rid of Jesus his parents had to migrate to Egypt to protect Jesus. Here we see that because of a political reason they had to migrate.
If you look at the life of Jesus carefully we can see that he was a double displaced person. Although his parents came from Bethlehem they lived in Galilee. We don’t know the exact reason why they had to live in Galilee instead of Bethlehem. Most probably due to a political reason such as a civil war, they had to be displaced and were forced to live in Galilee.
To date, there are many displaced people all over the world due to these political reasons. I consider it important to have a good understanding of these political reasons for us to pray for these people and to get involved in this issue to liberate them from their bondage.
If you analyze this carefully we can see that these political issues are integrally connected to their various boundaries such as religious, cultural, and ethnic categories.
Among these categories, ethnic and religious identities have become decisive in forcing them to be migrated and displaced.
Jesus had to migrate as an infant and was crucified as a young person because of his ethnoreligious identity. Very often people assume that we have ethno-religious identities to isolate other people who do not belong to our identity. All of us have what is called xenophobia or dislike of strangers, foreigners, and who do not belong to our group.
But our Lord and Master Jesus Christ always challenges his followers to go beyond their boundaries and create xenophilia which is to love strangers and others who are not in our group as a spiritual exercise. This is what he did throughout his ministry. His encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well and his dealings with the Greeks can be given as examples.
This is our Christian responsibility towards displaced and migrant people. We are called to make these people comfortable and accepted.
In our country and many countries in the world, there are many people who are displaced in their own country and elsewhere. As Jesus did and encouraged his disciples to do we must broaden our boundaries to accept and respect these people to restart their life with esteem and dignity.
The title photo shows the Archbishop of Canterbury with homeless refugees.