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Praying with Refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
01 May 2013

JRS staff are called upon to notice those who have been forgotten by others, Masisi, Democratic Republic of Congo (Peter Balleis/JRS)
Yet, even though he may have gone unnoticed, the wisdom of faith has taken root in Eradi's heart.
Masisi, 1 May 2013 – On his job contract it says he is a driver for the Jesuit Refugee Service team in the eastern Congolese town of Masisi. In reality Eradi Salumu is much more. The 39-year-old father of three has been forced to flee conflict in Congo on several occasions. Although he has never been formally recognised as a refugee, he has lived in exile in a number of African and European countries.

A member of the tightknit minority Muslim community, Eradi enjoys speaking about ‘things of God'. Without expressing it in words, he is driven to share his pride a JRS staff member through the priority on providing compassionate service for those in vulnerable circumstances. Many times along the road he is the one who notices when there is someone in need of assistance on the edge of the path.

Reflections for prayer
Jesus, too, walked in the world as "one who notices". Jesus sees others with a pure and perfect heart of love. The Gospels are filled with stories of Jesus standing with outcasts – men and women who are alone, rejected, with broken bodies, broken minds or broken spirits. Jesus notices with his heart the ones who are broken, different and pushed away. By listening to their stories, Jesus heals their loneliness.

We all have experienced moments in which we were unable to find compassion in the eyes of others. We too, know loneliness.

Yet, even though he may have gone unnoticed, the wisdom of faith has taken root in Eradi's heart. His heart is kept open by his love for talking about "things of God". This is how Eradi welcomes God to strengthen his heart with wisdom, love and hope so that he can be a person "full of generosity" for others. God stands in solidarity with Eradi so that he can stand in solidarity with others.

Scripture for reading
Mark: 8 22-25

When they arrived at Bethsaida, they brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him.

He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on him and asked, "Do you see anything?"

Looking up he replied, "I see people looking like trees and walking."

Then he laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.