Monday, March 24, 2014

It's About Time

So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’
John 4:5-10

The deprivation we subject ourselves to by fasting pales in comparison to the pain endured by immigrants who watch helplessly as their government destroys their families. For too long, Members of Congress have allowed this suffering in order to shield themselves from political risk. Their inaction is as foolish as it is cruel.
Eliseo Medina

Yesterday marked the anniversary (in 1942) of the start of forced internment (by the U.S. government) of all those of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast during World War II. This grave injustice stands as a reminder of the demonic force of racism that has scarred our nation's history.

Yesterday, churches all over the United States (and the world) read from the Lenten script of the Gospel passage describing Jesus' visit with the Samaritan woman at the well. This episode calls followers of Jesus to break boundaries and build bridges with those suffering under the yoke of racial and gender oppression.

Yesterday, more than 11 million workers & students living in the United States remain "undocumented," surviving in the shadows without status. All people of faith & conscience have the opportunity to seize this moment, inspired by the lessons of history and the mystery of the sacred Text we seek to embody. Justice calls us to demand that our national leaders extend status & dignity to our brothers & sisters who differ from us only on the basis of where they were born.

Today, let's elevate the dialogue & call upon our leaders to do what is right. As always, this isn't just "political." And it's not simply a "human rights" issue. This is personal. Some of my friends and students (current & former) make up the ranks of the "undocumented." They are the Samaritans of our day and as we rest at the well in the midst of our tired day, may we be in solidarity with them all.

Today, I called Representative Darrel Issa's (R) office to urge him to support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The staffer who answered the phone spoke from a script that (vaguely) implied that the Congressman supported immigration reform, but refused to answer whether or not he would support a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented while referring to them as "aliens." I respectfully asked that he prayerfully & specifically consider a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented and that Rep. Issa's office stop referring to my friends as "aliens..."

...and on Wednesday, let us continue our weekly 24-hour fast with Eliseo Medinez and the Fast For Families campaign.

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