A Season of Peace: Saturday, October 5, 2019

Making peace by supporting refugees and migrants

A preferential option for the poor

Joseph Jadway Marasigan

Matthew 8:20 (NIV)

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Reflection: The passage above tells readers that Jesus was virtually a homeless person. He stayed in the homes of those who would take him in. The scribe who said he wanted to follow Jesus wherever he went couldn’t even fathom the lifestyle Jesus led. Scribes were among the more affluent citizens at that time, whereas Jesus literally had nowhere to lay his head. Another passage in Matthew’s Gospel paints the contrast even more sharply: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the reign of God.” (Matthew 19:24)

This is also the reason why the church maintains what has been called a “preferential option for the poor” that includes the homeless, the displaced, and the immigrants. The testimony of our faith is best expressed by our fellowship and unity with the poor and the needy. As members of the Body of Christ, we see Jesus’ face illuminated in the light of the grief and suffering of our brothers, sisters, and siblings.

Jesus famously described this preferential option for the poor in this way: “I was hungry and you fed me; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.” Our Lord promises us that inasmuch as we show love and compassion for the least of God’s children, we do this unto God.

Action: As we consider our global refugee crisis, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of human suffering and forget that each migrant comes with an individual life and story. Today, take some time to study the map at https://humaneborders.org/migrant-death-mapping/. Learn the names of three migrants who have lost their lives in the journey. Pray for them and their families by name.

Prayer: Mothering and Fathering God, you came to give honor to the least — those forgotten, condemned, and misjudged. Give us ears to listen to their cries. Give us the voice to speak out in love and acceptance. Bestow upon us the grace to be your hands in this world: clothing, feeding, and sheltering all who are in need. Amen.


Joseph Jadway ‘JJ’ Marasigan is a member of First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills, NY and currently serves as a delegate to the New York City Presbytery. He is a member of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Activist Council. He writes primarily on the areas of social justice, agrarian reform, and human rights.


This year’s A Season of Peace Resources are designed to help Presbyterians explore different forms and lenses for peacemaking. From the personal level to global issues, these reflections and prayers will help grow the faith and witness of the whole church. Through the 29 days of this year’s Season of Peace, we are invited to reflect upon:

  1. What does it mean to commit to Peace?
  2. Making peace by addressing root causes of poverty
  3. Making peace by disrupting systematic racism
  4. Making peace by ending violence
  5. Making peace by supporting refugees and migrants
  6. Partaking in peace in worship and at table this World Communion Sunday and through the Peace & Global Witness Offering


Each author represents a variety of vocations and experiences in peacemaking efforts. Individuals and households are invited to make use of these daily reflections beginning on Sunday, September 1, and concluding on World Communion Sunday, October 6.

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