Ever on the Move

People are deeply attached to the place where they were born. And yet they dream of faraway places. We love Zimbabwe and hate Britain, but given a chance we leave our home and go to stay with the enemy.
Peoples and nations have always been on the move. The Vandals "vandalized" the Roman Empire,

the Bantu peoples moved from north to south and pushed the San people (“bushmen”) into the desert. Europeans moved to America, Africa and Australia. Now Africans seek their fortune in Europe: ironically, there are now more Zimbabweans in Britain than there ever were Britons in Zimbabwe.
Often enough it is precisely the love of home and family which drives people to distant parts. The Migrant Labour System in Southern Africa has created much wealth for this region, first for the immigrants from overseas, to a much lesser extent for the migrants from within the region. Now AIDS thrives where marital fidelity has been undermined.
Thriving economies suck in labour from stagnant economies: in the past Rhodesia from Nyassaland, now South Africa from Zimbabwe, Western Europe from the East, the USA from Mexico, Europe from Africa.
Some families benefit from remittances sent home. Others fall apart after years of separation. The human cost is often not counted.
People are forced to adapt to the economy, not the economy to the people. Employers want labour. They ignore that labour means people, husbands and wives with families.
Europe is putting up walls with razor wires to keep economic refugees out of their “fortress ” and chasing their fragile nutshells with speed boats. But only if companies move factories to Africa will workers stay at home.
The Church knows no frontiers. She must accompany the migrants and receive them everywhere. Jesus was a refugee once and had “nowhere to lay his head”. Companions of Jesus know that “it is their vocation to travel to many parts”. Ignatius was known as “pilgrim”. His friend Francis Xavier reached then unknown Japan and died on the doorsteps of China. Another companion, Peter Faber, travelled all over Europe and stayed nowhere permanently.
The “Jesuit Refugee Service” tries to assist people on the move in many parts of the world.
The new bishop of Chinhoyi, a former director of JRS, has the refugee logo in his coat of arms. Many with roots in the Church are part of the moving people of the world. Hopefully their shepherds too. – Comment – In Touch Jesuit Communications

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