What did Jesus say?
To the Journal editor:
Can you imagine living in such a chaotic and hopeless set of circumstances that you’re willing to sell everything you have to hire a smuggler to sneak your young son or daughter into the United States?
Hurricane devastation, rampant corruption and near apocalyptic social and economic collapse in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador prompt thousands of families each year to put their kids on such perilous northbound journeys praying that the kids they love might ultimately find better lives.
Affluent Americans heap love and affection on our own kids and fret obsessively when they’re inconvenienced or put out in any way. Your daughter miss the prom because of Covid restrictions? Oh, no, how will she survive? She was so looking forward to it! It’s just not fair.
Surely we feel some measure of concern for the absolute well-being of our neighbor’s kids? Well, maybe not so much. Were you aware that over half of US school kids come from families with incomes so low that they are eligible for reduced-price or even free school lunches? When classes went virtual because of Covid, schools not only had to scramble to figure out how get the lessons out to the kids unable to afford internet access, but how to make sure over half of the kids would have enough food to eat. This In America?
So, perhaps it’s no surprise that these waves of frightened and traumatized kids smuggled in from Central America more often than not generate expressions of ire rather than any evidence of human parental sympathy.
It’s very likely that our own familial predecessors also came to America seeking a better life, unless, of course, they came here in chains as slaves.
Like these Central American refugees, most of our ancestors arriving in America were not met with expressions of welcome.
The bronze plaque on the Statue of Liberty proclaims, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Those who profess allegiance to Jesus might reflect on words attributed to him. He said that feeding and caring for the least of these amongst us are the very hallmarks of his faithful servants.
Loving our own is easy. Loving the other requires something more.