BY CHRISTOPHER KERR | October 11, 2021
Sunday’s Readings

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

How hard is it to fit a camel through the eye of a needle? 

I got a better understanding of the answer to this question during a recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, where I joined Catholic leaders from across the U.S., both lay and religious, at the invitation of migrant families seeking asylum. The families have been organizing to bring attention to Title 42, the Trump Administration policy sustained by President Biden that stops migrants from making legal asylum claims by citing public health risks related to the pandemic.nothing is impossible

After a march and rally through the streets of Nogales in Sonora, Mexico, the families assembled with faith leaders who would accompany them to the port of entry as they made their claim for asylum. I had the honor of walking with Karla (pseudonym) and her two children, ages 4 and 11, who fled Guatemala after her husband was killed because the family could not pay an extortion fee. I stood behind Karla at the gate, holding her daughter while her son stood next to me. She pleaded with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to have her claim for asylum heard. 

After begging the CBP officers to listen to her story, Karla asked me to speak to them in English, to ask them if they would listen. I raised my voice and said to the officer, “These people need to be heard, will you please listen?” They barely acknowledged me and never acknowledged Karla. I felt powerless to help her at that moment. 

Another family came to the gate with Bishop Weisenerberger, the Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona. After ignoring the family for many minutes, the U.S. border agents proceeded to close the border crossing, lowering a gate as Juanita (pseudonym), the family’s mother, pleaded for her request for asylum to be heard. They literally shut the gate in her face. 

“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.” 

In yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus invites us into the immensity of how God sees the world and challenges us to embrace that vision, as well. All things are possible in this vision—compassion without blinders, unceasing hospitality to those in need, and never ending love. Rather than seeing the challenge of welcoming a migrant family seeking assistance, God sees a world where no one in need, including the migrant family, is turned away—where nothing is impossible.

Fitting a camel through the eye of a needle is not easy. But if we want to get into the Kingdom, we better give it a shot. 

For Reflection:

  • What keeps you from being more compassionate or welcoming to those in need?
  • How might your faith community deepen its commitment to hospitality? 

Watch a brief video about the #SaveAsylum action here.

 

2 replies
  1. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    How might your faith community deepen its commitment to hospitality? Our faith community has greeted people when they go in and when they leave. The faithful parishioners speak to each other and all the priests are out talking to the parishioners Although our faith community is about 75% visitors to the Cathedral people create a sense of hospitality. When a little girl was asked what the homily was about she readily stated – I need to give things to people who need them that I don’t need .If a 7 year old can share that, our faith community is doing well. On another level we are still trying to get to know our fellow neighbors so we can recognize their gifts more readily. The silos are gone and the community welcomes its people. I thank God for our community of believers and the support we receive from one another.

    Reply

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