Theological reflections on migrationTheological reflections on migration


All humankind is created in the image of God; he inaugurates a healthful relation to humankind and to every single person. From this creation in God’s image and the inseparable relation which lies there within, every person receives his or her human dignity.

-> Gen 1,26-28.31 “God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. […] God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”


The Bible is full of stories of people migrating. They leave their homes to seek a better living, because they are forced due to natural disaster, economic crisis, war, or they want to find work in another place. Some are trafficked for labour exploitation, have to flee from persecution or God tells them to leave their home to fulfil his blessing.

-> Abraham, Joseph, Israel, Ruth, David, Jesus, the Apostles.


“You shall love your neighbour.” But who is my neighbour? It is not only the person of the same origin as myself, not only those who live in my town for generations. Sometimes my neighbour just comes around. It will sometimes just happen to me, that a person is becoming my neighbour. And the Bible helps us to have a clear eye and to identify who my neighbour is and how to address him.

-> Lk 10,36f ”Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise."


Very clear about what to do is James 2: faith and works, believing in God and acting with mercy, are inseparable. Works cannot earn salvation like a growing bank account. But faith, founded in the love of God will not remain inactive facing injustice and suffering.

-> James 2,14-17 ” If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”


Sometimes people are not even aware of doing the right thing. They do what has to be done to welcome the stranger, to support the neighbour, to feed the hungry. Doing the right thing, recognizing the human being around and his needs, just comes out of their faith in the love of God.

-> Mt 25,38 ”Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, […] when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you?” 

Migrants day in Greece


The issues around migration might pose challenges to societies, political institutions and churches. Much injustice and suffering is often connected with migration, particularly with forced migration. But also voluntary migration faces various problems in new situations and societies.

But migration belongs to humankind from the beginning. Migration brings humankind together as God’s family.

-> Mt 25,35.49 “I was a stranger and you welcomed me, […]“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”


Uniting in diversity-Ciampino Conference
Africa-Europe Consultation


And then there is God’s promise, and it is a description of what is, there is no “would”, “could”, “should”, “will be”. It is clearly said in what we can trust and rely our hopes on:

-> Eph 2,19 “So then you ARE no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God”



For more theological reflection see CCME Reader: Theological Reflection on Migration