August 22, 2014

The Freeing Call to Service; As Brothers, Sisters, and Friends.

Nota - Este artículo es disponible en español aquí.

Daily reports from the US-Mexican border are truly devastating. Despite numerous documentaries and endless footage showing the tortuous trails Latinos are forced to take as a means of protecting their lives—or to somehow provide sustenance to their loved ones—nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to the heartrending experience of personally hearing the profoundly moving and miraculous testimony of a child who has survived that unimaginable exodus. Their stories are heartbreaking in their realism and their truthfulness.

I have had the opportunity, as many others have, to hear, with my heart in my hand and holding back tears, one of the thousands of stories of that often fateful crossing that brings men, women, and children to this country. Firmly holding the hand of a father or a mother, and in the case I had before me, a young man and an eight year old girl with no family, crossing through unknown worlds, surrounded by languages and cultures similar and dissimilar to theirs and feeling completely alone. A bit like Moses, miraculously saved from the waters.

At the end of their story my hands were tightly holding theirs, my eyes followed theirs radiant eyes absorbing their new reality. Discovering a world so different from their dreams and, nevertheless, so full of hope. In the midst of an uncertain future but still seen through rose-colored lenses, the same rose-colored lenses through which I saw my own life when I came to this country forty-six years ago. 

My thoughts, that I imagine many of you share, are the following: even though we say we are protectors of the human rights of each and every person, the reality is that we are allowing this newly arrived migrant community to embark on a journey through a social desert, perhaps many times worse than the one they crossed and survived, by the grace of God and an unwavering faith in Him.

The saddest thing is that in this country of ours, that often has compassionate jingles in their advertisements such as “When you need a friend you can take my hand”, we too often see that those hands are actually unwilling to hold hands with foreigners, nor share the abundance that God has given us. We’re not yet ready to listen to those children of God looking into our eyes or to remember the history of our own ancestors who also escaped unlivable situations and found merciful hands they could count so that they could start anew.

In my prayers I invite you to insistently, and with fervor, ask God to show us how to help alleviate this unmanageable situation, which affects people of diverse ages and origins, documented and undocumented and to help those who need to be embraced as true brothers and sisters. 
Let us ask God to give us the strength and the means to serve as liberators of fear and as healers of hatred for the many who view us as impediments to their very livelihood and safety. Let us pray to God the Father and in the name of His son, Jesus Christ, to take us out of this desert of misunderstanding and violence. So be it.