Friday of the 1st week of Lent

Lenten Journeys

Friday of the 1st week of Lent

15 March 2019

Friday of the 1st week of Lent

From Today’s First Reading:

‘All the sins he committed will be forgotten from then on; he shall live because of the integrity he has practised.’

Ezekiel 18:21-28

As we walk with Fernand today and accompany him on his journey, how does this promise of life and example of integrity resonate with you?

Fernand’s Story

Fernand navigates this in a foreign language, and has sometimes had very poor interpreters.

“Last time I went to court, I had an interpreter who could not even understand French properly. I suspect he didn’t even understand English well because he had two dictionaries, one in French, one in English. Every time he had to speak he checked the dictionary. He didn’t understand the language, so how could he translate properly?”

He reflects on the hardship, and the basic human hopes, of people going through the asylum system:

“Each one of us fled his or her own country to come here. Now we all have to struggle through the asylum system, and deal with communication and cultural barriers. We each want to fly with our own Wings. I want a normal life, like you, like Theresa May.”

Through all of this, Fernand refuses to let himself be defined by labels, but retains a strong sense of his own identity:

“I won’t let people put me down. If I feel like someone is trying to lower me down by calling me an asylum seeker or whatever, I just tell them ‘you don’t know me. You don’t know where I come from and the happy life I lived back home.’ That’s not me.”

An Invitation to Prayer

We invite you to take some time with Fernand’s journey and today’s readings, and join with Megan, Communications and Development Manager at JRS, in prayer and reflection.

Today, Ezekiel speaks of the power of choice and how our lives can be turned around by the choices we make. His words resonate deeply with the themes that have been flowing through the readings this week: to treat others as you wish to be treated.

Choices are rarely easy to make, and it’s rarer still that you make a choice which pleases everyone – in the reading, even the House of Israel object to the Lord’s direction to reward those who choose to turn towards Him.

Fernand touches on making difficult choices in what he shares with us today, “Each one of us has fled our own country to come here, and now we have to struggle with the asylum system…”

The decision to flee one’s home is rarely an easy one. But for Fernand, his life and that of his family were put in danger for doing his job, and for standing up for the dignity and rights of others.  This too was a choice, but one born of living in a way that was true to his values. Fernand then made the painful decision to leave people he loves and cares for behind, in search of safety and a life of dignity.

I pray that Fernand, Ibrahim, and all our refugee friends are able someday soon to “fly with their own wings”, to find the safety and dignity that they are desperately hoping to find.

Megan Knowles

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Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street, London E1W 2QT

020 7488 7310

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