“Children as young as 7 and 8, many of them wearing clothes caked with snot and tears, are caring for infants they’ve just met, the lawyers said. Toddlers without diapers are relieving themselves in their pants. Teenage mothers are wearing clothes stained with breast milk.” – From ‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children, New York Times, June 21, 2019
A 14-year-old girl from Guatemala said she had been holding two little girls in her lap.“I need comfort, too. I am bigger than they are, but I am a child, too,” she said. –From Attorneys: Texas border facility is neglecting migrant kids, AP News
Today we celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Today’s Gospel is embedded upon my heart. When the disciples were pretty much about to dismiss the crowd because they were in a deserted place and seemed to lack the resources (or the will) to care for them. Jesus said to them:
“Give them some food yourselves.”
Today he might add that toothbrushes, sleep, showers, soap, and love should be on the menu, but sadly they are not on the menu for the migrant children. There is a reason that this miracle appears in all four Gospels. We should be paying better attention.
Also on my mind today was the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
When did we see him? And what did we do when we did? What *will* will do when we finally notice? It is his body and his blood, but the moral will to see him, welcome, feed, and clothe him is lacking. We’ve been dealing with this issue for over a year, and yet it persists and worsens. Will we try to send them away or will we find ways to welcome, care for and feed them? They too are the Body of Christ as we are.
What will we choose?
It seems we want to be caught in the politics because it deafens the call of Christ. We want to say they do or don’t belong here and this is a consequence of action by their nation or inaction by our nation. We want to have a different sociopolitical agenda for children–unborn children–and we have a movement already in place to address that. And, of course, that agenda is just now gaining steam.
Yet, as you brilliantly point out, that is not what matters. What matters is if we notice and, when we do, what we do about it. The fact is they’re here, in our nation’s care, wanted or unwanted. Our call to care, to love, to feed, to clothe does not question the political circumstance but our response to their circumstance. What will we choose?
Tim, I think about that intersection of faith and politics always… I also think about rendering unto Caesar. In the end, the law I follow most is that of Christ. Of course, that gets us into different political conversations, doesn’t it? However, the law in the end is Christ and that law is love.
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