Welcome The Stranger

Action and attitude

In the Gospel, Jesus compels us to welcome the stranger (Matthew 25:35). Welcome in this context involves both an attitude and an action. It is our attitude which constantly needs to be assessed in light of the Gospel to ensure that we are carrying out the Lord's commandment to love our neighbour as ourselves. Once we have the right attitude, our actions should reflect and consolidate this attitude. The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) advocates for attitudes based on compassion, justice, mercy, acceptance and encounter. Actions based on these attitudes seek to comfort the afflicted, provide refuge for the persecuted and be a homeland for the exiled.

Fear of the stranger

Often the stranger turns up unexpectedly. It is normal in these occasions that we may feel anxious, mistrusting or fearful. It is important that we daily invite God to be part of our encounter with the stranger and to pray that our community can overcome fear and suspicion towards asylum seekers. Whenever fear is present, it simultaneously provides an opportunity to be a powerful witness to the Christian faith. People will know that we are followers of Jesus, when we place the dignity of people seeking asylum before our own needs and fears.