Advent calendar prayer and reflection for 6 December

Viola and her son in a refugee camp Caritas Uganda

Viola and her son in a refugee camp in Uganda (Tommy Trenchard/Caritas Internationalis)

Jesus said, “I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, they might collapse on the way.”

Matthew 15:29-37

Just for a moment, imagine Jesus’ compassion as he looks around the hungry crowds. He cannot look away. He cares for them so deeply and feels compelled to help them.

So out of a few scraps of food, he says the blessing and turns the few loaves and fish into an abundant banquet. Thousands of women, men and children eat on the hills. Filled with the goodness of God, they are given strength to continue their journey.

A journey of refuge

In the village of Bidi Bidi, Uganda, our sisters and brothers are receiving nourishment for their journey.

Bidi Bidi was once a quiet village. Today, it is the second biggest refugee camp in the world. Over 270,000 women, men and children who have fled South Sudan are taking shelter there.

Our sister agency, Caritas Uganda, are providing food, water and housing to people in desperate need.   

Viola Taboo, 22, and her five-year-old son, Charles, fled to the Ugandan border last year. Viola felt forced to leave when soldiers arrived in her village. Eventually she found safety in Bidi Bidi village.

Her courage saved their lives. Last January, Viola heard that eight more members of her family were killed back in her hometown.

Viola and her son are gradually beginning to rebuild their lives in the camp. “At first there was little food here,” she remembers. “Life was very hard. But now we are getting some good supplies.”

We pray for our sisters and brothers who are seeking refuge. Like Jesus, let us not send them away hungry, but let us respond with love and compassion.

Advent prayer

Compassionate God, through your Son Jesus you refused to turn away from the suffering crowds. Open our eyes to the dignity of every person. Stir in our hearts the resolve to help our sisters and brothers as members of our own family. Amen. 

Act  

This week, a special exhibition is taking place in the Houses of Parliament, bringing the voices of refugees and CAFOD supporters to the corridors of power. Write to your MP, and ask them to speak up on behalf of poor communities.

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