Advent reflection for 16 December

Dainny, 6, a child refugee in Colombia

Dainny, 6, fled with his family from Venezuala to Colombia

Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of Man will suffer similarly at their hands.

Matthew 17:10-13

Jesus rebukes the people for the cruel way John the Baptist is treated. They do not recognise John the Baptist for who he is. Instead, they reject him.

Migrants and refugees are often not recognised as human beings, but instead are seen as “cockroaches” (The Sun, April 2015) who should be hidden or chased away. This has to end.

In the words of Pope Francis, “Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women, and men who leave or are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more.” (World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2014.)

Let us recognise migrants and refugees for who they are: members of God’s family.

One human family

Thanks to your support, CAFOD is upholding the dignity of migrants and refugees across the world.

In Colombia, Latin America, millions of people have been forcibly displaced from their homes. The country has been scarred by over 50 years of armed conflict. It has one of the highest numbers of displaced people in the world, second only to Syria. In addition to the thousands forced to flee their homes within Colombia in 2017, thousands more have fled to Colombia from Venezuela.

Our partners are helping to build peace among communities, promote human rights, and empower women and girls who have faced gender-based violence.

Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao, director of our partner Caritas Colombia, says “Peace will be possible if the dignity of the victims is restored and if they find a way to be recognised. It is important for them to receive the solidarity from their brothers and sisters in other countries, to know they are not alone but part of the human family.”

Thank you for showing the world that another way is possible; a way of justice rooted in love. Let us pray we continue to show solidarity with our sisters and brothers, especially with those who have already suffered so much.

Advent prayer

Abba Father, help us to be aware of the fears, anxiety, pain, sorrow, difficulties and uncertainty all refugees suffer, and to remember that we all belong to the same human family. Amen.


Blessed Oscar Romero stood by poor communities who were suffering from violence in El Salvador. You may like to order a Romero cross, hand-painted by our partners in El Salvador. A wonderful gift for Christmas stockings!

This prayer was written by Diana Sutherland.

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