National awardees also serve the Church
September 29, 2017
An opportunity for co-responsibility
September 29, 2017

I support the PM’s call

A street in Dominica is littered with debris from Hurricane Maria. Photo: Msgr William John-Lewis

Two major hurricanes moved through the northern Caribbean within just days of each other, causing widespread damage, decimating several islands, even making some uninhabitable. Electricity went and roads were blocked by fallen trees, rubble and broken power lines; drinking water and food were in short supply; boats were wrecked; and the islands lost their natural beauty.

With three powerful hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Maria) in a month, four earthquakes in four weeks killing more than 300 people in Mexico, and another in northern Italy, fires in California, a volcano in Bali and floods all over the world, I wonder if these are not ominous signs that the world is slipping away from prayer, love of neighbour and most of all peace.

It has become very puzzling to me as to why the Prime Minister’s statement of opening your homes to besieged Dominicans, is such a heated topic. The PM simply proposed, as I understand it, that if any citizen who has family or friends in Dominica, they can find some respite for six months in these homes, providing they can get here.

The appeal was simply very humanitarian and should be accomplished by ‘opening your doors’ to them. A show of real human love, for which we are well known – a generous and caring people. Is this changing? Have we now become hard hearted because of things material? This has to do with trust.

I am at a loss to comprehend how politics (talk about votes) got into the picture. I thought it was simply lending a hand to our CARICOM brother and sister. Has the love for these people expressed just lip service? How many people of other nationalities, including from several non-CARICOM countries, have we in this country and many illegally, at that?

This closed-door attitude being displayed by some of our citizens reminds me of the parable by Jesus in Luke 16: 19–20 about the poor man Lazarus. It says: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores …”

Like some of us, do we really want to be like the rich man? I should think not, because by closing his door he wanted to protect his riches, possessions and comfort, from any unwanted poor and needy.

Sr Ruth Fox, a Benedictine nun, writing in Living Faith some 11 years ago, put it this way: “Is there any needy person whom I keep outside the closed door of my heart? Perhaps I have closed my door to someone who needs my forgiveness.”

Then she added it might have been someone awaiting a crack in the door to hear a kind word, or somebody who needs a friend, a phone call or just a person who needs help, or even family members – a brother or sister, parents.

She said, “Perhaps I think those persons deserve the closed-door treatment they get from me. But this parable teaches me that I must open my door to everyone if I want the door of heaven to be open to me.”

We hear you. So I support Dr Rowley in his call – open your door and your heart.

A street in Dominica is littered with debris from Hurricane Maria. Photo: Msgr William John-Lewis