Epiphany is about a journey, or several journeys, across lands and nations, guided by the light of a star. Their journeys lead to a child who promises to be a unifying force of love and justice for ALL people and nations. The Magi leave the child no longer looking in the skies for a guiding light, but within their hearts. These “foreigners” became believers and disciples of Christ, while the religious leaders of this Child denied Him. Epiphanies are experiences that enlighten, open up, our minds and hearts to God. This encounter compels us to “see” differently, taking new routes.
Millions of human beings are compelled to take new routes leaving their Homeland out of desperation, to simply survive forces of violence and poverty. It is easy for us who are comfortable and have the ability to freely choose to be mobile, changing routes to make life more meaningful. But if you are facing poverty, gang violence and human trafficking, crossing borders, legally or illegally, becomes the only option. You will do anything to protect your children. You will do anything to feed them and care for them if they are ill.
Migration has been a part of humanity, throughout our history, going back indefinitely. People leave countries to find freedom and the ability to follow dreams and desires. But abuse of power and unjust economies rooted in historical patterns of colonialism, are just two realities that FORCE people to migrate. Human rights: the right to have food, shelter, education and medical care are just the basic human rights which must be accorded to every human being. When these rights cannot be realized, instability results.
The problems of migration and immigration are complex and divisive. The ultimate solution is not in building high walls, even if the wall prevents desperate people from entering. They will find other ways. Simply preventing people from entering illegally will not solve the problem. It may even make matters worse. Getting to the root of the problem is the only solution: confronting the various injustices related to the economy, agriculture, imports, exports, land acquisition, to name a few. And ALL nations have contributed to these injustices, including our own.
Foreigners from the East got the message and changed their entire lives forever. All of us are rooted in other nations and cultures. Migration is a part of every human being’s history and this county of America was founded on welcoming immigrants. Those of us who love and follow Christ are called to a higher standard, the standard of the gospel. We are called to welcome the stranger and in doing so, we encounter Christ.
Peace. Blessed Epiphany, especially our Migrants…our neighbors.