May 11, 2011

Alien but Human

Here in Mexico, it's easy to become desensitized to the impoverished conditions of people that live right down the street, not to mention those I see begging or washing windshields at different intersections around the city.  I guess, after time, you just get used to those things being part of the daily scenery.

Thankfully, I have a husband who is passionate and outspoken about helping the poor.  He is the type of man who gives freely and without asking to be repaid.  He will literally give you the shirt off his back if you ask him for it.  He gets depressed when he sees our friends in financial difficulties and tries to help them get back on their feet.  On one January 6th, I remember he took me and our nephews out to some really poor areas of the city and we went door to door giving people new shirts.  But his question is always,  "What else can we do?".

Today he showed me a video of some women in a town called La Patrona.  The women, called las patronas after their town, make 200 portions of food a day and also wash water bottles and refill them, to give to the illegal immigrants that pass through their town on the trains.  The immigrants come from Guatemala and Honduras on their way to try to find a better life north of the Mexican border.  These women are among the lower middle, if not lower class.  They aren't rich and probably don't have much in the way of possessions, but they give of themselves every day.  Even if you don't speak Spanish, please watch this video. At one point a woman reads a letter sent to her by an immigrant who received food one day.  He writes, "You didn't know if I was a thief, or murderer.  You didn't know me at all, but you didn't care.  You gave me food.  You showed me the love of God."  To me, these women are living out Matthew 25:35-40. (For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink...)

These women not only remind me of the importance of helping others but also that regardless of someone's immigration status in a country, they are first and foremost human beings, deserving of being treated with dignity and love.  After seeing a bill that just passed in my home state, making it illegal to help an "illegal",  I have to remember who the Bible constantly commands us to look out for. Is it an accident that the old testament mentions over and over to do no wrong to the fatherless and the widow and also aliens in those places?  Over and over we are told to show them justice, to protect them.  Do a keyword search if you don't believe me.  If it is illegal to give someone who is dying of thirst a glass of water, to help someone to a hospital who is hurt, what is wrong with this picture???  What if it were me?  What if I was the one living in a situation, watching my children starve to death?  What if it were my husband, or yours?  What if my situation was the result of injustices caused by my own country, yes, but also by unfair trade habits of neighboring countries?  How can I say that I might not try to cross a border into a somewhat better life, even if that life caused me to be looked at as the refuse of society.  I'm just saying there are two sides to this story.

17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. It brought tears to my eyes. I too have become a bit desensitized to the poverty around me. Having a first time visitor from the states here who points them out reminded me of how i felt when i first saw the conditions many lived in and how i have slowly stopped noticing. Thank you for the simple reminder. What we have is from God and belongs to God. It can be taken from us at any minute.