The Seven Last Words

A memorial featuring coffins stands along the Mexico-U.S. border. Each coffin represents the number of migrants who have died attempting to cross the border in a given year. © Tomas Castelazo.

Today, we commemorate the entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem.  As we prayerfully prepare ourselves to enter into Holy Week, I offer here a reflection I wrote for Franciscans International which uses the Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ as a meditation on the current global migration crisis.  By reflecting on the Passion of Christ through the lens of migration, I hope that we are able to see the face of Jesus, who was both migrant and refugee, in the faces of our migrant and refugee siblings.

We reflected on the Seven Last Words, knowing that God resurrected Jesus Christ. This faith encourages us in our commitment to advocate for and to protect the human rights of our migrant and refugee siblings, to bring hope in seemingly hopeless situations, and to work for positive change for those who still suffer.

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Closing Prayer

Most high and glorious God, the poor, crucified body of Christ inspired Saint Francis and Saint Clare to a genuine, loving concern for the poor and the oppressed. We follow in their example, as we reflect on Your Seven Last Words.

Like Francis and Clare, we pray:
That in gazing on Your poor, crucified body, we may know the Body of Christ who still suffers with those who experience injustice and violence;
That in meditating on Your words on the cross, we may hear Your cries echoed in the cries of our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters;
That in contemplating Your suffering, we may empathize and show mercy to those who are displaced and excluded;
And that in desiring to imitate You, who welcomed all, we may also welcome all, especially the stranger and the outcast.

Just as Francis’ embrace of the leper turned what seemed bitter “into sweetness of soul and body” (The Testament), the embrace of our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters will turn the bitterness of xenophobia and fear into the sweetness of justice and peace. For in welcoming and embracing those whom we consider the stranger and the least among us, we will be welcoming and embracing You. Amen.

The Seven Last Words in various languages can be found here.  © 2018 Franciscans International and Br. Christian Seno, OFM.

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