Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Undocumented Immigrant?
By: Catalina Morales, Lead Organizer with ISAIAH
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
With Christmas around the corner, I have been in the same frenzy as most Christians at this time. Buying presents, wrapping them, thinking about all the delicious food we will be making and all the quality time I will be spending with my family. These are the things that many of us have on our minds in this season. Every year there’s a tightrope to walk about how commercialized we are in our sacred celebration. But this year, not only am I concerned about how we celebrate, but who we believe we are celebrating.
Christmas is supposed to be about serving and celebrating our “new born King.” During advent we read the prophesies about Jesus’ birth in Isaiah. But I can’t shake the uneasiness that we may not be clear about who we are serving.
I read the prayer we put on our catholic prayer pledge card that says, “We know, Lord, that you yourself are a migrant. You experienced the trials of the refugee, having fled as a child with your parents, Joseph and Mary.” Something in these words hit me very hard: “having fled as a child with your parents.” If we put Mary and Joseph in today’s society, wouldn’t they be the parents in the caravan stuck at the border? Would Mary and Joseph be called by so many Christians, “criminals”? “Drug dealers”? “Rapists”? Would Mary and Joseph in current day be the refugees that are seen as terrorists?
Jesus today could be Jakelin Caal Maquin – the seven-year-old who died this week at the border from thirst, shock and exhaustion because she didn’t receive shelter. She needed shelter and refuge from a country that prides itself on being a Christian nation and yet we didn’t open our borders for someone whose story is just like our King’s! Little babies, toddlers and young adults being brought by their parents could be Jesus, the King we Christians profess to follow every Sunday at mass and morning service.
When our sacred text tells us that “the government will be upon his shoulders” we can’t ignore the fact that so many children today have the full force of the United States government on their backs. If Jesus were to come into the country when I did, he would have qualified for DACA. He would be a Dreamer because he “fled as a child” with his parents!
And what of his parents? Do we dare blame the Holy Mary or her faithful and God-fearing husband Joseph? Do we condemn them as criminals, vagrants and violators of man-made laws and borders?
What would be of our faith if the Holy Family would have not found shelter that night in the manger? What if ICE had separated our Savior from Mary, and Mary from Joseph, while also confiscating their donkey and the small cherished items they carried? Are we going to continue to be the Christians who wouldn’t open the door for Jesus, Mary and Joseph?
It is time that we wrestle with our call as Christians. We must seriously wrestle with the fact that our King, the One who is the center of our faith, was a poor, refugee, migrant of color, who only had the clothes on his back and his parents took him and crossed borders for survival. This Advent season, and beyond Christmas, let us wrestle with who we’ve made our King to be and who our King truly is. It is only when we have grappled with these truths that we can lament, repent and transform our public lives to match the one that Christ has called us to – to be the Church.
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