Last weekend I asked if anyone of our community would be willing to imitate the courage of John Howard Griffin, a white man who risked and lost everything when he became black to help the black people in the American Deep South in the mid-20th century.
It would be easier now than then but still a great challenge to face the possible loss of home, the emotional cost to family and loved ones, the risk of your willing sacrifice having no effect. The question, as some of you noted, is why would a white man risk and lose health and home, face the wrath of the White Deep South with its ‘Whites Only’ places of worship, priests and people preventing worship in a particular church because of one’s colour.
At St Joseph’s, are all who come welcomed and loved as sisters and brothers? Who will tell us? Only those who know. They and we will know by the experience of being treated differently because of skin colour. I knew the tremendous challenge last week and you will have heard the possibility of losing everything, just as John Howard Griffin did. We are all made in the image and likeness of God. The colour of our skin has no spiritual importance. We are all the children of God.
Hungary has given a new lead this week in welcoming workers to help in their country and economy. Visas are being issued to make up for a shortage of skilled and unskilled labour. If Hungary’s lead were to be followed by other countries we might see another way of solving the migrant question by welcoming new people as part of the workforce.
We pray this bold initiative will be followed by other countries – and even inspire further initiatives. We are becoming one world and the crises we have been facing is part of that wonderful story.
Loving neighbour and God, we are blessed,
(24th September 2023)