Thursday, July 29, 2010

Welcome the Stranger

In the newspaper today it was reported that a federal judge has suspended the Arizona Immigration law. For the last several months this has been a contentious subject. It is debatable to even say there is a right side and a wrong side. The issues here are much larger than the difficulties experienced by a particular group of people. And of course politicians are milking every ounce of political expediency out of this situation.

Some are concerned that the Catholic Church has come out in support of the Immigrants, many of them perhaps are in the U.S. illegally. Some might see this as unpatriotic and impractical. Many of the message boards scream about the Church simply being interested in money, or simply numbers.

The latter though touches on where the Church is looking. For the Church it sees men and women looking for a livelihood that they are not finding at home. Most, if not all of the immigrants that come from Central and South America, are coming from nations that are filled with violence and political corruption. The nightly news reports regularly on the murders which occur on a daily basis in our neighboring Mexico.

The solution to the problem of illegal immigration is not as simple as putting people back on their side of the border. Poverty and despair lead to violence and illegal activity. For some who live in these countries, the survival of their families offers very few choices. One either must sneak into the U.S., partake in illegal activity, or watch the destruction of one's family. The Church recognizes that often the dignity of the human person is compromised. The lack of the basics of life, but those attributes that are hard to define, which offer men and women safety and security.

We need to find solutions in our own nation, but as a matter of justice we should want to encourage our neighbors to provide safety, employment, and access to the basics of life. There is that old saying from back in the 1960s, 'if you want peace, work for justice.'

The Gospels remind us that the Kingdom of God is in our midst. St. Paul would challenge those who consume the Eucharist, to be a source of living bread for one another. Resolution to our concerns does not come from essentially un-enforceable laws, but through compassion and mercy. There is a lot of stuff here, and we can find solutions when we stand on the Gospel values as our springboard.

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