Australiais a multicultural country which is in fact made up of immigrants. Some have been here longer than others, but all are from someplace else.
Migration is very important to all people around the world. One never knows when or why people have to leave their homelands. Times of famine, war, disaster and political unrest are just some of the reasons why people leave their native lands. No part of the world belongs exclusively to any one race and it is a basic human right to migrate. We all have the right to live in a safe environment. Welcoming countries also have their own rights but they have obligations as well.
We believe that God made the world for all His people. Migrants, and those receiving them, have to follow rules which have been set and agreed to amongst the nations.
Most, if not all Christian churches, defend the principle that migration is a very important part of human civilisation. The Catholic Church in particular has a long established history of doing everything in its power to welcome, defend, shelter and in any way to support migration. Ukrainians inAustraliaknow this from their own migration history. We in turn must always be careful to examine our attitudes towards migrants and migration. Unfortunately, history has shown that former migrants themselves have some very sad attitudes towards new immigrants. Far too often they think thatAustraliashould not take any more migrants or to take only those of whom they would approve.
Somehow people cannot tolerate the differences that migrants bring to a country. There is a temptation for us to demand that they should all become like us instead of being one with us. Migrants bring richness to our society.
The true face of Christ is found in migrants. Our faith in Christ is the basis for our own attitude towards new people in our midst. In Jesus Christ we all realise that we are in fact brothers and sisters. Our Christian family is far richer because of the diversity we live in. We should include migrants into our circles rather than just tolerate them.
It is interesting to note the reference in the Bible to Pentecost when the thousands of people heard St. Peter in hundreds of languages. This is an important point because the unity of church or society is not a common origin or language but rather the presence of the Holy Spirit.
There is another consideration in this discussion. We must consider that migration in this world is very temporary. All of us are here for a very short time. Our real final home and resting place is in heaven – not here. In heaven we will all be together, one with God, our Father.
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