From Today’s Gospel:
“… he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.”
As we continue our journey with John, we are brought close to our neighbour. Where do we feel called to express God’s abounding love?
When John was released from Colnbrook, he managed to find a solicitor who would take on his case. For a long time, John had tried to forget the trauma he had faced in Africa and he struggled to tell anybody about what happened to his family. His solicitor is one of very few people who know the whole of John’s difficult story.
“It’s so stressful to think about, I never do. I try hard not to. The solicitor was helpful though, he was good.”
John is still waiting for a resolution to his case. It has been nearly 20 years and the waiting and the not knowing puts him under considerable strain..
“Sometimes the stress gets too much. I just want to know where my case is up to. I just want an answer to my letters.”
It is a real struggle for John, especially when he feels that this waiting has taken away his identity, that people label you with one brush.
“We’re treated all the same, it makes me frustrated sometimes. People don’t see me as John who loves Gospel music. They see me as an asylum seeker.”
An Invitation to Prayer
We invite you to take some time with John’s journey and today’s readings, and join Sr. Linda, a volunteer with the JRS Detention Outreach team, in prayer and reflection.
I believe my whole being is called to love God and to love my neighbour as myself. It has been important in my life to experience God’s abounding love and express this love to the other. Life’s joys and struggles are both opportunities to encounter God’s love. Even more when I will be in difficult times in my life, God’s faithful love has never abandoned me.
At the beginning of John’s story, we heard “A good Samaritan helped John to flee his village. He stayed with the good Samaritan for a while … before catching a flight to the UK.”
I guess the most challenging call for me is ‘to see the other as myself’ I wonder how I can translate this love into the reality of how I think, say, feel and do, not only for myself but also for others.
And how can I let John’s words about how he is labelled change my perspective? Really shift my perspective? When I reach out to help him and others, do I see a person with personality and interests, who is more than just his legal status?
Sr. Linda Maog MMS
Receive these reflections straight to your inbox