Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Deuteronomy 10:12-22; Matthew 17:22-27)
In his landmark “Gettysburg Address” Abraham Lincoln appealed to the “Declaration of Independence” in exhortation that the nation carry on the struggle for a united nation. He said that the government founded to protect the freedom of all peoples is worth dying for. In the Book of Deuteronomy Moses makes a similar argument.
The Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land. They have every reason to hope that they and their children will have all the resources they will need to live in prosperity. But Moses, conveying the will of God, wants for them more than that. He wants them to fulfill their destiny of being a model of God’s justice. So he exhorts them to remember God’s graciousness to them and to their ancestors. He is especially concerned that they treat other peoples fairly for, he says, “…you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.”
As mass immigration has become a reality in all parts of the world, we should highlight these words of Moses. It is difficult to sojourn in different lands with different customs and a different language. Immigrants need understanding, fairness and even compassion. Such treatment would show our solidarity not just across national boundaries but among generations.