by Jennifer DiFrancesco
Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion,
the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope.
Hear the cries of the people of Syria;
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
and comfort to those mourning the dead.
Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors
in their care and welcome for refugees.
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace. Amen.
(Excerpted and adapted from Catholics Confront Global Poverty)
As Jesus and his disciples were traveling through one town after another, his disciples debated who among them would be the greatest and have the most important position when Jesus came into his kingdom. Jesus responded, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” ~Mark 9:37
Watch this reflection piece, created by The Slate Project, on the Syrian refugee crisis.
Jesus believed in welcoming others. His definition of welcome is not just about receiving others; it is about receiving others with gladness, especially in response to a need.
Questions to Spark Conversation
~Think for a moment about the importance of children in Jesus’ ministry. What can we learn from how Jesus treated them and incorporated them into his teachings?
~Take a moment and think about times when you have felt welcome. What did others do to create that sense of welcome?
~Are there groups or individuals you find it challenging to welcome? What suspicions, judgments, perceptions do you have that make welcoming a challenge?
Create a “welcome” stepping stone, as a reminder to welcome others as Jesus did. There are many DIY ideas out there. Here is one by Bob Villa that would be fun and easy to do with kids: http://www.bobvila.com/articles/diy-stepping-stones/#.Vf9Q-CBViko