The humanitarian crisis that exists at the southern border of the United States has been going on for such a long time that, perhaps, we have become numb to the suffering of the people there. It goes without saying that, as Christians, we cannot allow ourselves to ever be complacent to the suffering of any human being.
Jesus and his parents had to flee into Egypt to escape suffering. We don’t know how long they were immigrants in Egypt, but it surely was not for a short period of time. Unfortunately, hatred and injustice do not die down so easily or speedily.
The people at the southern are no different than anyone else who may find themselves facing the same injustices, fears, dangers, and lack of opportunity. They flee because they have-to and that, they do! They flee! They flee! They are powerless against the powers that be. They flee! Just like anyone else would do.
From the Christian perspective, it is not a crime to flee from injustice, danger, and poverty. It is not a crime to want to live somewhere else. It is not a crime to want to provide a better future for oneself and for one’s family. It is not a crime to want to live in peace and work in peace. It is not a crime to seek refuge. It is not a crime to flee from injustice. It is not a crime to be an immigrant or a refugee.
What is a great shame, from the Christian perspective, is not to be compassionate with those in need. What brings shame to the human race is when we judge without understanding, reach conclusions based on the fears and lies that others create, and create policies that hurt and hinder people based on racist attitudes.
It takes a lot of work to understand and be compassionate. It doesn’t take much work to criticize and judge. The world has become all too small, all too interconnected, and is much too complex for us to be taking refuge in delusional cocoons that hinder us from reaching out to those in need. The more need there is among humanity that more insecure we all become. When the basic needs of food, water, shelter, employment, and peace are denied, situations of desperation are created. If the deniers have greater power than those in need, the needy flee in the search for safety and a better tomorrow. The humane crisis at the southern border is created by the desperation that our sisters and brothers feel from having lived in unsafe, unjust, and exploitive societies. They need the compassion, the understanding and the welcome of human beings that dare to actualize the teachings of Jesus in the concrete situations of our world today. All they ask for is for a chance at a better life. That is what they flee to us for.
So, in light of the very real suffering that is playing out at the southern border, how do these words of Jesus touch us: “Come, you that are blessed by my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matt. 25:34-36)
We have so much to do. We cannot allow indifference to capture our hearts.
You are in my prayers and in my heart.
Peace. Friar Julio