Cincinnati Hispanic Chamber - 20th Anniversary Dinner – October 28, 2016 Invocation

On October 28th, 2016, Father Michael Graham, SJ President of Xavier University delivered an Invocation to the Cincinnati Hispanic Chamber. In his words:

'In Exodus we read, “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Deuteronomy amps the language up; not just “do no wrong,” but: “Love the foreigner, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.” And Leviticus shakes its head in vigorous agreement:  “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall do him no wrong.  The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you and you shall love him as yourself.”  

What are we to make of eloquent Biblical testimony like this?  At least this much:  that the loose talk nowadays about walls and borders, about mass deportations and deep screenings, is far from new – it is indeed an ancient bigotry.  Why else would Hebrew scripture thunder against it so?  And as God summoned the people He has chosen to be His own to stand fast against exclusion and intolerance in those days, so does He ask the same of us in our day.  Lest we, like them, forget something important:  they were sojourners once themselves, and as for us, what are we but the descendants of immigrants all – unless we be ourselves the immigrant.

And so – God of the landless and oppressed; of the refugee and the stranger; of the outcast and the despised – we ask your blessing upon our gathering together this night; upon our food; upon our company and our celebration; upon our city, our state, our country.

But, may your blessing of us this night show itself in no better way than this:  that we remember always and acutely who we are:  your sons and daughters, called to sojourn awhile together as we journey home to you through the world you have given us in common.  Side by side may we always go. Brothers and sisters all.'