“All is not lost. Human beings … are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start … and [embarking] on new paths to authentic freedom.” (Laudato Si, #205)

Our world, and our God, are hurting because of the fear and hatred that drive xenophobic actions like those initially of Mr. Hamed. Xenophobia is defined as the fear or hatred of that which is foreign or strange, a belief that is a bit ironic when one considers that we are all guests in God’s garden. God’s love leaves no room for fear or hatred to root in our hearts. Our call is prophetic: to love and care for one another regardless of religion, creed, race, or ethnicity. Jesus himself serves as our example, to love the least among us and to care for those who are different than us. Only when old enmity and anger are dissolved in our hearts can peace be restored throughout our world.

Envision a world in which xenophobia and other forms of injustice do not exist. What are your favorite parts of this world? Start with a pencil and paper, a paintbrush and canvas, or clay – spatially visualize what your city or town would look like in this world. How do people interact in a society rooted in peace and love? How does it feel when everyone has enough? The vision is yours to decide.

Take a moment to listen to and reflect upon this Cherokee Native American song, “Do-hi-yi” (Where peace resides).