You can’t hardly go a day or two without seeing something in the headlines that relates to immigration. And it’s not just in the US that this is happening, but around the world. People are looking for stability and safety and many times aren’t finding it in their home country.
It can be confusing for us as Catholic Christians to know what our response ought to be. Should we let everyone who wants to live here settle in? Can we handle the influx of humanity? Do we view this as a problem or do we look at this as an opportunity that needs to be managed properly?
In Pope Francis’ document, Joy of the Gospel, he has this to say about having a missionary heart in all we do. He says, “A missionary heart never closes itself off, never retreats into its own security, never opts for rigidity and defensiveness. It realizes that it has to grow in its own understanding of the Gospel and in discerning the paths of the Spirit, and so it always does what good it can, even if in the process, its shoes get soiled by the mud of the street.”
That quote speaks to me about how difficult it can sometimes be to follow what the Gospel is urging us to do. The path of the Spirit is not always neat, clean and easy to discern. If you’ve ever accidentally stepped into a squishy, wet, pile of mud, you know just how hard it is to clean that off of your shoes. Sometimes discerning what to do in a complex situation, like immigration, can be messy.
There’s a pragmatic way to address immigration as well as an emotional and faith-filled way to address immigration. As Catholic Christians we need to be aware and deliberate about making sure we see this issue from as many angles as we possibly can. And sometimes one of those angles involves navigating around a pile of mud. Fortunately, we have a document like Pope Francis’ to help us through. So don’t be shy. Jump on in and get dirty.