In my work with Jesuit Refugee Service, I am able to see so many relationships of love, as we find in Scripture. Before travel stopped because of the pandemic, I had the opportunity to join one of JRS’s Home Visitor teams as they called on refugees in Beirut. Our Home Visitor teams, composed mostly of refugees, provide basic accompaniment—a supportive listener and modest assistance where possible.
At one home, we met a woman and her two children, including one with a serious eye disease. They lived in two rooms where she welcomed us with warmth and excitement. Although we couldn’t help her return to the comfortable life she knew in Syria, we were able to offer her comfort, provide a small stipend, and refer her to an eye doctor for her child.As we moved toward the next home, people emerged from their doors to greet the Home Visitors and urge them to stop by soon. Clearly, this small experience of accompaniment meant a great deal to them.
When the Beirut explosion happened last August, JRS’s Home Visitors were among the first to respond. Even those whose own homes were damaged immediately visited “their families,” letting them know they were not alone and would be supported.
In this week’s readings, when Jesus throws the money changers out of the Temple, he distinguishes between our relationship of love with God and the transactional relationships in the marketplace. The Ten Commandments connect our relationship with God to our relationships with each other, laying out fundamental directions that are summarized in the Great Commandment to love God and one another. Despite challenges they face as refugees, the Home Visitors are living examples of the relationships of love we find in Scripture. How can each of us promote relationships of love in our communities and around the world?
- When have you been the recipient of accompaniment, support, generosity, and love?
- Where are you being led to extend the same to others in your community and in our world, building relationships of love?
Joan Rosenhauer is the executive director of Jesuit Refugee Service USA. She serves on the global JRS leadership team, and leads JRS’s efforts to provide pastoral support for people of all faiths in five U.S. detention centers and to mobilize U.S. support for people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes.
Joan Rosenhauer es la directora ejecutiva del Servicio Jesuita de Refugiados (JRS) en los Estados Unidos. Ella lidera los esfuerzos de JRS para dar ayuda pastoral a las personas de toda tradición religiosa en 5 centros de detención en los Estados Unidos, y movilizar la ayuda de los Estados Unidos a personas de todo el mundo que han debido huir de sus hogares.