I simply cannot understand the deep anger and animosity directed at immigrants. It is not something that occurs just in the United States, either. There are countries all over the world who do not always have an attitude that is favorable to immigrants. For that matter, there are those who, when considering foreign aid or helping people who are desperately poor in other nations want to limit help only to our own country. Many candidates advocate that a giant wall be built along the border with Mexico, and some even would not rule out a giant wall along the border with Canada.
When I hear such things I become very sad. Because it seems to me, that underneath all of this desire to keep immigrants out is fear. We are afraid. And we seek to deal with this fear by enclosing ourselves into a world, a prison really, to keep out the strangers. It feels that we search in vain for a guaranteed safety, a selfish clinging to what fails to satisfy.
Thank God that the saints of old, and even saints today, do not have that attitude. Far from building walls to keep people out, they heard the call of Jesus, the stranger, whom they welcomed. Saint Peter Claver, whose feast we celebrate today, was one such saint. Seeking to evangelize the Africans, he could not imagine how eager they would be to hear the good news he came to bring.