Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna emphasised that it would be shameful for Malta to close its doors and harden its heart to immigrants as “it is Christ himself who is knocking on our shores”.
During a homily in St Peter’s Monastery in Mdina on the feast of St Bendict, one of Europe’s patron saints, the Archbishop praised the Benedictine charisma of hospitality which Mgr Scicluna used to reflect on the current attitude towards immigrants.
The Archbishop said he was impressed by the practicality of St Benedict’s rule which entreated each follower to open up their hearts and their homes to strangers who knock on their door, since the stranger is the image of Christ. Do not, entreated the Archbishop, close your doors, your hearts, your shores, your airports or your airspace to the strangers that knock on them.
“Christ is knocking on our shores”, said Archbishop Scicluna adding that it is our responsibility to help, and we cannot shy away from it without being answerable to God.
Malta needs solidarity
The Maltese, said the Archbishop, feel the smallness of their country and they realise that, in tangible terms, they cannot solve huge problems on their own and heed help from other countries. They need the solidarity of of Europe and the burden must be shared. However, he warned, it would be to our great shame if we close the door, if we harden our hearts, if those who remind us what it is to be truly Christian end up being the subject of our ridicule, insults and condemnation.
St Benedict, whom Archbishop Scicluna described as the weaver of a network of European reception points, would be a good model to inspire and intercede so that this quintessential Christian spirit is not dissipated. He said that he prayed for all those in power so that they understand that when faced with a stranger knocking on their door, they see in that person God’s blessing and refrain from condemning that person to death or slavery. If instead these close their heart and slam the doors to those in need, the consequences will be theirs to carry. The choice, warned Archbishop Scicluna, is yours.
It is understandable that the initial reaction when one hears the knock on the door, is to step back, said Archbishop Scicluna. It is human to rebel against the intrusion and think to seek one’s own comfort. Especially if the request for help comes at an inopportune time, which is normally the time when the destitute cry out with their needs, when someone is drowning with all their children dying in front of their eyes. We must show solidarity, concluded the Archbishop, and we must insist that solidarity is shown to us.