Welcoming our neighbor
Publish date 28-12-2022
The welcome must be lived concretely as a joyful, meaningful event and not as a sacrifice. The concrete acceptance of the sick person, therefore, is knowing that on the one hand the disease is an impairment that we will have to try to fight, but on the other hand it does not affect the value of that man who is sick; indeed, perhaps it transfigures it.
The concrete welcome of those men, those children, those boys to whom we approach with difficulty, because we are repugnant, because we risk not understanding that there is life in them appearing to our eyes only vegetable trunks , is to manifest the deepest meaning of welcoming, because they are a testimony of life, a testimony of Jesus who is in them as Jesus creator before being a suffering and savior God. The concrete acceptance of others is therefore to believe that they have the same value that I have, despite the disease, despite the ignorance, despite the difficulties of all ages, despite prison, drugs, loneliness, discouragement. The most significant example today of this life that must be helped, that must be found, welcomed in the next is probably in the serious situations of developing countries, because the difficulties of welcoming our neighbor add up to the difficulties of poverty structure of these countries which find themselves in enormous difficulty.
I believe that one of the most significant events to try to see the differences and welcome them, is to see the poverties, accept and welcome the difficulties to try to overcome them, so that the welcome to our neighbor is a joyful welcome but constructive, joyful but committed, capable of giving and giving oneself, capable of doing concrete things. Many concrete things that we are all able to give life to if we learn to grow in love and if we are committed to preparing ourselves to face them.
from “Progetto” (now “NP”), 1992, n. 9