In today’s readings, two migrants ascend two different mountains. One is Jesus who, having survived the trauma of a refugee childhood in His Flight to Egypt, wanders about the Galilean countryside as an itinerant minister. The other is the Father of Faith, Abraham, who migrated with his whole family across ancient Mesopotamia from Ur to the Land of Canaan. Both became migrants by the will of God, and both ascended mountains because they heeded His voice.
Today, Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees cross the same mountainous Sinai Peninsula that Jesus and Abraham crossed thousands of years ago. In the picture above lies a painting. In it, refugees are imprisoned and tortured, stripped naked and beaten with whips — just like Jesus Christ in His Passion. Juxtaposing this gruesome painting is a gilded cross laying atop the chest of Filmon, a refugee from Eritrea. The cross is a symbol of hope and resilience in face of suffering. It is the antidote to the horror and evil which scars our world. For more of Filmon’s story, watch here.
Today’s readings give us insight into how we can deepen our reliance on God like Jesus, Abraham, and refugees do. It is to simply be present – without distraction – in stillness and silence. When God speaks to Abraham, Abraham responds, “I am here!” When Jesus brings Peter to the mountain, Peter says, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here!”
Here is a way to pray: Simply sit down in a quiet Church or room in your home, put away your phone, silence your mind, and say, “Lord, it is good to be here.” Loosen your grip on whatever is bothering you and simply be with him. In your heart, feel the words resonate, “Lord, it is good to be here.”, “Lord, it is good to be here.”, “Lord, it is good to be here.” There, the Lord will be with you.
Thomas Doran is a Jesuit novice from Omaha, Nebraska. He is working with JRS/USA as a part of Jesuit formation called “Long Experiment.” Thomas will share weekly reflections during Lent. Click here to see his reflection rom last week.