Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Ecclesial Immigration

Did you know that you are a resident alien? That is what the word parishioner means. It comes from the Hellenistic Greek word παρоικια. The word was used in the Septuagint to describe the Jews as sojourners in a foreign land (cf. Gen 15:13, Exd 6:4, Deu 10:19).

As parishioners we should remember that while living here on earth, we are true citizens of the Kingdom of God:

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…(Eph 2:19)

Thus, we should not establish “roots” in the things of this earth but

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Col 3:2)

The Second Vatican Council in Sacrosanctum Concilium (par. 2) affirms this when she says,

It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek.

Sacred Scripture also shares,

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. (Heb 13:14)

Naturally, we should feel most at home during the liturgy when heaven and earth embrace through the Divine Mysteries. Did you ever wonder why we have a procession for anything and everything we do? We enter those Divine Mysteries through processions or as it is defined: an assembly on the move. On the move to what, where or whom? To the true love of our hearts, heaven, and the Most Blessed Trinity.

Next time you go to Mass remember that you are truly home in the Church. Additionally, as you consider the challenge(s) that the U.S. is grappling with concerning immigration (legal or otherwise) remind yourselves that you too are a sojourner in a land that is not your own.

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