To the Editor:
If Scripture is any guide, we need to do the same: reach out to the outsiders. We Christians often forget that Jesus was and remained a Jew. He was steeped in the Jewish Scripture and traditions. The Jews were a people that experienced living in a foreign land. Genesis (10:1-12) tells the story of Lot protecting two immigrants. Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, on reading this quipped, “It so sullied my mind, I haven’t been the same since.” The story is extreme but the point is not lost; we are obligated to protect the stranger in our midst.
Jesus lived and taught this moral imperative. In John’s Gospel (4:4-43) we read of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. This heretic and foreigner brought Jesus’ message to the town’s people. In Luke’s Gospel we have the story of the Good Samaritan (11:29-38), which reminds us about who our neighbors really are; perhaps they are immigrants, maybe legal and maybe not. It also indicates how Jesus expects us to treat them. Luke also quotes Jesus, “But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who curse you . . . .” (Luke 6:27-33). This is repeated again in Matthew’s Gospel (5:43-48). In this same Gospel, we read of Jesus healing the centurion’s servant. The centurion is a foreigner and soldier of an occupying army. This is the example Jesus set. Dare we follow!
People of goodwill everywhere have risen up and demonstrated against the current streak of Islamophobia and hatred toward immigrants. Looking forward to Easter, perhaps this is what the resurrection of Jesus looks like in the here and now: the body of Christ moved by the Holy Spirit.
Deacon Art Donart (Ret.)