We Have a Choice
BY LUCAS SHARMA, S.J. | August 13, 2018
At the Kino Border Initiative on the border this summer, I met Nelson – a young man fleeing violence in Honduras. He finds himself now at KBI preparing to cross into the United States through the perilous Sonoran desert. He has a sparkle in his eyes – an unquenchable esperanza that he’ll make it and find a way to send money back to his family. He doesn’t know what dangers await him in the desert.
Perhaps he’ll find himself like Elijah – exhausted, hungry, lost. Or perhaps he’ll find his angel – a jug of water left for migrants by No More Deaths. Will he lose that unquenchable hope?
Will he, like many others, die in the desert, or will he find refuge in our nation?His story is one of hundreds just like it. Nelson challenges us to ask ourselves who we are in his story. Will we intervene like the angel did to restore hope, safety, and security to Elijah? Or will we grumble like the people encountering the prophetic words of Jesus – questioning the validity of his story and his “illegal entry” into the United States?
As we struggle to make sense of our national immigration crisis, we are invited to see Nelson as a human seeking that same bread of life we long for. Certainly, some heard the words of Jesus and turned away, for his teachings seemed absurd and insane. We have a choice – confronted with a God who desires that we labor to be compassionate and forgiving, to live in love. If we choose welcome, we’ll create a community that is the beautiful fragrant aroma that God so desperately desires for all of us.
Lucas Sharma, S.J., is a deacon of the Jesuits West Province and a graduate student at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. He is currently serving as a deacon at St. Ignatius Parish in San Francisco, CA. Lucas serves on the boards of Seattle University and JVC Northwest working especially in mission and equity initiatives. When not studying, Lucas loves to cook and watch the soap opera General Hospital.
Thank you for the thoughtful insight. Mine is very different. Care for the ones in need but don’t encourage them to break the law. Our silence or even encouragement to do dangerous or unlawful acts without thinking about the consequence seems like poor planning or wishful thought. Why blame our national policy for doing what all countries do for the responsible protection of its citizens?
Thank you for your beautiful piece. We must witness to love and confront the evil spirit of fear masquerading as “security.” Our nation’s security will never come from closed borders but from a citizenry that is generous, courageous, curious and grateful for the abundance we can share if we challenge and dismantle the oligarchy. We must choose welcome or die spiritually behind locked doors and paranoia.
When I was a stranger and homeless, you welcomed me – says the Lord.