Day 25: Privilege and Responsibility

Privilege and Responsibility

BY MARISA LIMÓN GARZA | March 26, 2022
Today’s Readings

The privilege of being paid to do the work of justice at the southern border isn’t lost on me. The idea that one can be compensated for living out an expression of their faith is an awesome responsibility. 

It’s tempting to look at my work and give myself an automatic A+. After all, I am centering migrants in all humanitarian and advocacy efforts, developing strong political analysis, committing to coalition work, and speaking truth to power.

Yet it’s when I tick off items from my good works list that I become the Pharisee in today’s Gospel.

Privilege and Responsibility

During a recent visit to Ciudad Juárez, I helped facilitate a dialogue with 150 men living in the purgatory that is the latest version of the Remain in Mexico program, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). My initial take was that this version of the program would be less harmful, impact fewer people and would hopefully be reversed sooner rather than later. So, not such a big deal In the grand scheme of things.

These men’s testimonies revealed my short-sightedness. 

150 doesn’t sound like a huge number in comparison to thousands, but to each person placed in this program, it quickly becomes their world. These men made me remember that the lack of legal representation, the months-long stretches between court dates, the close quarters of a migrant shelter and the mental anguish add to their continued suffering despite already fleeing violence and persecution in their countries of origin.  

One person ensnared in the program is one too many. 

Humbled by this experience, I recognize that my good works list is of no service here. Instead, I am called to act like the tax collector by thinking differently and continuing to discern how to put my ministry to use in their service. 

For Reflection:

  • What privileges and responsibilities do you hold in your work for justice?
  • How are you being called to think in new, different ways to serve others and work for a more just world?

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

    As the author states: “These men made me remember that the lack of legal representation, the months-long stretches between court dates, the close quarters of a migrant shelter and the mental anguish add to their continued suffering despite already fleeing violence and persecution in their countries of origin.” There is more injustice in this statement than in anything we could think of. It is horrific that each and every migrant withstands this kind of torture. What can I do? Pray for peace in their soul/heart. Continue with almsgiving and make my voice heard where it counts to liberate the person from this tragedy.

    Reply
  2. M Cathy Harmon-Christian
    M Cathy Harmon-Christian says:

    Thank you so much for this Lenten series of reflections. As I was listening today, I pray that the voices of people on the border are heard for the Synod on Synodality. I would be honored to help you do this. Please reach out to me at my email. Much love, Cathy

    Reply
  3. sonja
    sonja says:

    What wrenches my heart is the increasing number of ordinary people here in New Zealand, who can no longer afford to rent a home. As the cost of food continues to sky rocket, the gap between being able to live within four walls and forced to live without widens. There are enough houses in our land. Most of these houses (with at least three bedrooms) either lie empty owned by foreigners, or are only occupied by one person. How do we address this huge inequity? The government solution is to chop down trees in cities and infill sections, which once supplied the poor with vegetables and fruit trees, with five brand new units, unaffordable for those without a home. There is no longer any cheap housing provided by the state, for those less well off. Any suggestions welcome.

    Reply
  4. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Working for justice is a never ending mission. It adds life to the life span of the justice seeker and to the life span of the justice worker.

    Reply

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