Jesus demands an answer in Sunday’s Gospel: “Who do you say that I am?”
Peter replies, calling Jesus “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Jesus knows that a reputation precedes him. People have given a number of different names, some not entirely flattering, so his question to his disciples is a test to determine if they see him for who he truly is.
During a recent trip to El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, I shadowed my colleagues who provide mental health and psychosocial support services to migrants and asylum seekers on both sides of the border. During group sessions at the migrant shelters, participants would share what they experienced as they traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border. Some shared about the harrowing journey across the Darién Gap. Others spoke of the extortion and violence committed by armed groups. Each story was different, but what was shared resonated across the group and fostered a community of solidarity.
Listening to these testimonies, my heart hurt thinking about all the names and labels given to these individuals and families at the border. A reputation precedes them before they even reach the U.S. But as these individuals and families gathered in the shelter to process their journey, sharing their stories, they challenged those names and reputations. They are parents, siblings, and much more. Children of the Living God.
Who do you say that they are?
- What narratives do you hear about immigrants and asylum seekers? Which narratives should be uplifted? Which should be challenged?
Josh Utter is originally from Madison, WI, and a graduate of Loras College in Dubuque, IA. Based in Phoenix, AZ, Josh is the outreach officer for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.