Answering the Call to Journey as Missionaries of Hope
by Nancy Brouillard McKenzie
Remember your work to your servant
by which you give me hope.
This is my comfort in affliction,
your promise that gives me life.
Ps. 119(118): 49 - 50
On this beautiful fall day, I look out my window at the Columban Center and see young men and women. Whether they are students or workers, I pray for their happiness and return to my work.
However, my optimism unravels quickly. I begin to think about the incredible cruelty of ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for young undocumented immigrants, or “dreamers.”
Now, I think about the forced removal of dreamers from their families and deportation from the only home many have known. Those actions severely threaten the love and respect we share with each other in the Mystical Body of Christ. Instead of treating dreamers as children of God, the demise of DACA burdens those young men and woman with excruciating fear and uncertainty about their futures.
Many years ago, I willingly departed my family in New England; yet, I have the freedom to return there whenever I want. Once DACA ends, dreamers will not have that opportunity.
I try to imagine the fear that a surprise knock on a door could mean to a dreamer but that is impossible. Unlike many dreamers, I am able to hire an attorney should I need to resolve legal matters.
Likewise, I struggle to walk in a dreamer’s shoes and imagine what he or she may be thinking or feeling.
As a child, I used to “hope beyond hope” for something that I wanted. As an adult, I am thankful to the risen Christ for giving me the power to hope beyond hope for a fix to our broken immigration system. I also hear Jesus calling us to defend the dreamers.
In a general audience on September 27, 2017, Pope Francis globally launched the Caritas Internationalis Share the Journey Migration Campaign (“Share the Journey”). He stated that the hope of migrants “is the force that drives the hearts of those who depart, leaving home, their homelands, at times their relatives and families.” Similarly, Pope Francis emphasized that hope “is also the impulse in the heart of those who welcome.”
Notably, Pope Francis encouraged “those who come to our land” and those who welcome them to continue the journey “jointly.” That means learning more about each other, sharing the journey and sharing hope - the drive behind the journey.
Overwhelmingly, I pray in thanksgiving for my grandmother. She arrived in this country very young, and alone. A joint journey would have given her a fuller life without the hate that she encountered.
Praising Saint Francis of Assisi as ““a true missionary of the joyful hope born of Christ’s victory over death and our own share in his risen life,” Pope Francis called us to be missionaries of hope.
When I advocate for dreamers, I feel the joy of being a missionary of hope and a witness to the resurrection of Jesus. Sadly, I also struggle with the cost of my discipleship when people block out dreamers from conversations.
However, when rejection happens, I remember that Pope Francis wants us to recharge our hope because missionaries of hope “are announcers for the resurrection of Jesus not only in words but in the facts and the testimony of life!”
Pope Francis further espouses that embracing the resurrection of Jesus allows us to continue to “hope in the unhoped-for.” For me, I will always hope beyond hope for the dreamers.
"Weekly Reflection on Justice" is produced by the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach staff, volunteers, interns, Columban parishioners, Columban Missionaries, and friends of the Columbans. We hope these reflections help to guide you in your own spiritual journey working toward justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.