There was a famine in the land, distinct from the earlier one that had occurred in the days of Abraham, and Isaac went down to Abimelech, king of the Philistines in Gerar. The LORD appeared to him and said: Do not go down to Egypt, but camp in this land wherever I tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I will give all these lands, in fulfillment of the oath that I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, and I will give them all these lands, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing—this because Abraham obeyed me, keeping my mandate, my commandments, my ordinances, and my instructions. So Isaac settled in Gerar.
During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Leave my people at once, you and the Israelites! Go and serve the LORD as you said. Take your flocks, too, and your herds, as you said, and go; and bless me, too!” The Egyptians, in a hurry to send them away from the land, urged the people on, for they said, “All of us will die!” The people, therefore, took their dough before it was leavened, in their kneading bowls wrapped in their cloaks on their shoulders. And the Israelites did as Moses had commanded: they asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. Indeed the LORD had made the Egyptians so well-disposed toward the people that they let them have whatever they asked for. And so they despoiled the Egyptians. The Israelites set out from Rameses for Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, not counting the children. A crowd of mixed ancestry also went up with them, with livestock in great abundance, both flocks and herds. The dough they had brought out of Egypt they baked into unleavened loaves. It was not leavened, because they had been driven out of Egypt and could not wait. They did not even prepare food for the journey.
When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.
Julia’s parents were married on September 3, 1993, in Chihuahua, Mexico. It was a happy day, but life started to get difficult after Julia was born.
“I had to get surgery as a baby and two months later my mother also had surgery for health problems. Yet those were not the worst days. After my first birthday, my father passed away from cancer. Since he died nothing was the same again.”
Being a single parent in Mexico was difficult for Julia’s mother, Rosario. She worked very hard, but was paid very little. The family could barely afford basic necessities, let alone dresses or toys for 3-year-old Julia. Rosario decided it was best if she left Julia with her grandparents and looked for work in the United States.
What Rosario didn’t account for is how much she would miss Julia. Providing money for her family was important, but nothing could replace seeing her child grow up. So Rosario made one more trip to Mexico and brought Julia back with her to the U.S.
“America is a really beautiful place and it is the American dream for many immigrants, but that is not something you consider at 4 years old. I missed my family and my friends in Mexico so much.”
It would be another 11 years before Julia and Rosario would be reunited with their family from Mexico again.
- In the Scriptures provided for this section, what reasons did Abraham, Moses and Joseph have to migrate? Why did Julia’s mother migrate? Can you name other reasons for migration?
- How would you feel if you were forced to leave your country of birth? What would be the hardest to leave behind? What challenges would you face in a foreign country, especially if you didn’t speak the language?
Lord Jesus, when you multiplied the loaves and fishes, you provided more than food for the body, you offered us the gift of yourself, the gift which satisfies every hunger and quenches every thirst! Your disciples were filled with fear and doubt, but you poured out your love and compassion on the migrant crowd, welcoming them as brothers and sisters.
Lord Jesus, today you call us to welcome the members of God's family who come to our land to escape oppression, poverty, persecution, violence, and war. Like your disciples, we too are filled with fear and doubt and even suspicion. We build barriers in our hearts and in our minds.
Lord Jesus, help us by your grace,
To banish fear from our hearts, that we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister;
To welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity, while responding to their many needs;
To realize that you call all people to your holy mountain to learn the ways of peace and justice;
To share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us;
To give witness to your love for all people, as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.
We praise you and give you thanks for the family you have called together from so many people. We see in this human family a reflection of the divine unity of the one Most Holy Trinity in whom we make our prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
USCCB’s Prayer for Migrants and Refugees
Call to Action
Use the How Welcoming is My Community? quiz to assess how friendly your community is towards newcomers. Pick one of the questions you answered with “no” and take steps to turn your answer into a yes. Let us know if you get a perfect score on the quiz by tweeting @cliniclegal and we’ll provide you with additional ideas to welcome newcomers.
Use the resources on this page to find new and exciting ways to engage your community on immigration issues.
Read and share this resource by the Justice for Immigrants campaign to educate others about the pull and push factors that lead people to migrate.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has an entire page dedicated to the bishops' position and policy recommendations to address the root causes of migration.