Loving Our Neighbor . . . the Immigrant

Friday’s Gospel reading is from Matthew 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding,
with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

I wonder how well we demonstrate our love for God by our love for our neighbor . . .

  • After visiting with some of the people of Tijuana, and witnessing their poverty. . .
  • After conversations with people who had grown up in the U.S., only to be deported as an adult, even though they knew no one in Mexico . . .
  • After remembering the words of Exodus 22:21 . . .

You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.

God bless the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Peace, and all those who support them, in caring for their neighbors and our neighbors. May we learn to be truly neighbor through our trade and immigration policies, and may we learn compassion and not react to the “stranger” in a mean-spirited manner because of our fear and lack of understanding. May the Spirit help us to “enlarge the place of our tent” (Isaiah 54:2) and make room in our hearts and our lives for others who are different from us. Could this be a way for us to be transformed this Lent?

The people at Casa de los Pobres, Tijuana, gather to pray the Stations of the Cross during Lent. The students of Dominican University joined them.

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