As Columban missionaries, we have lived in other countries where we have worked closely with people from Asia, South America and Oceania. We have learned not only to value their rich cultures but to form deep friendships based on mutual respect. Nothing makes us more upset and angrier than when we hear of discrimination against people from countries where we have been welcomed, accepted and loved.
Recently, I read of the feelings of fear of some of the top women golfers in the world, who are from Asia, when faced by widespread discrimination in the United States. Jesus cured people suffering from contaminating skin diseases known as leprosy. This was not only a cause of physical pain, but it was a social disease as well, as those afflicted with the illness were forced to live in isolation outside their village, away from family and friends. It was the highest form of discrimination. After curing the man in Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 8:1-4), Jesus sent him to get a certificate of good health so that he could be re-integrated into the community. May we reject all forms of discrimination remembering that ''Jesus opened our eyes and our hearts to understand that we are brothers and sisters and that you are Father of us all.''
In our world today, there is much discrimination of so many people. Many are forced to leave their ancestral lands. Discrimination has no place in our world, and we all must do our part to reject all forms of discrimination. Many people today, like the leper in the Gospel, are still forced to live in isolation. We continue to pray for all people who experience discrimination today.