Our first reading from Ecclesiastes gives us the sayings of an ancient wise man named Quohelech who said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” When I came across that saying yesterday, I had been reading about Germany’s troubles with refugees. But, just minutes earlier, I had been reading about a similar problem Germany had had seventy-six years ago.
Their problem now comes from Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel losing political support because of her insistence on Germany’s welcoming a million refugees. The story from seventy-six years ago dealt with the ship named “St. Louis” that four hundred Jewish people chartered to carry then away from sure death at the hand of the Nazis. That ship had not been allowed to dock anywhere, even in Miami and New York, so it had to carry those people back to be gassed in German concentration cmps.
Chancellor Merkel’s welcoming a million refugees now is a good step for Germany’s doing penance for killing off six million Jews seventy-five years ago.
American law permits us to accept a little more then seventy-five thousand refuges each year, and there is a bill in Congress that would allow us to welcome a hundred thousand. We have reasons for being careful about letting in possible trouble makers. Still, when you see hundreds of thousands of people driven from their homes by war, you do want to help them.
Deuteronomy 10:19 says, “You must befriend the aliens, for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt.”