This is a familiar format for a children’s riddle. You knock, I ask, you reply.
It’s based on a simple action– someone knocks on my door and I ask, “Who is it?”
Is this a stranger? A friend? A criminal? Who is knocking?
We’re right to be curious. And it’s ok to ask questions. But should we automatically be suspicious? What if this is a friend, or someone who needs my help?
This February, Pope Francis asks us to hear the cries of migrants. After all, we shouldn’t bolt the door until we know who is knocking, right? He writes, “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age” (Pope Francis, Message for the 2018 World Day of Migrants and Refugees).
After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with their child. They escape from King Herod who searches for the child “to destroy him” [Matt 2:13]. After this danger passes, the Holy Family returns to their homeland. They were refugees only temporarily. Perhaps they knocked on an unfamiliar door seeking shelter. Imagine Joseph offering to work in exchange for food and housing. Knock knock. “Who’s there?
Modern migration is a complex issue. A humane response requires compassion, wisdom, and cooperation from citizens, churches, police, and government leaders. If we shut our ears and lock the doors of our hearts, then we will never hear the cries of the poor seeking protection and opportunity. Jesus says, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Who is knocking at our door? How will we respond?
- Fr. Joseph Laramie, SJ