The following Homily is provided by Friar Sidney as a way
of enriching the ministry of the Word as presented through
this web site. Friar Sidney, who has spent much of his
ministry in India, is currently a Professor of Philosophy
in Rome. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The texts
used by Friar Sydney come from the Roman Lectionary - which in
most points agrees with the Revised Common Lectionary.
Exodus 22:20-26. I Thessalonians 1:5-10. Matthew 22:34-40
What is our image of the foreigner, the helpless, the old, the
widowed and the poor in our midst?
Foreigners and the poor are always a factor of instability and
suspicion in every society. Xenophobia is something natural in
Recently, in the election campaign in India, Sonia Gandhi's
foreign birth was an issue for many other parties.
In many countries, even now, foreign workers are looked upon with
suspicion. If they do well, there is even jealously and hatred.
We are well aware of how many restrictions are set on foreigners
in many countries.
It all seems quite natural.
Therefore, today's first reading is stunning. It exhorts the
Israelites not to molest the foreigner in their midst. It
reminds the Israelites that they themselves lived as foreigners
in Egypt. It reminds them to care for the foreigner, the widow,
the indebted and the poor. It goes so far as to say: If he cries
to me, I will listen, for I am full of pity.
This is precisely the character of our Triune God. He loves His
neighbour, Man, as He loves Himself, Father, Son and Spirit. It
is not we who loved Him first. It is He who loved us first. He
created us. He redeemed us. He sanctifies us.
The love we have for our God, consequently, is to be measured by
the love we have for the foreigner, the helpless, the old, the
widowed, and the poor in our midst.
copyright - Friar Sydney Mascarenhas and Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 1999 - 2005
please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.