September 25, 2021
THE CRY OF MY PEOPLE
A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
The Situation under the Del Rio Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, is disturbing and heart-breaking. Thousands of Haitians seeking asylum in the United States are being turned away. The asylum seekers thought the changed political situation would offer them hope and a chance for a new life. Instead, for various reasons, their dreams are now nightmares. This is not a time for political mud-slinging or crass accusations. As a Nation, we need to pause asking ourselves what it means to be a Nation. Should we not live on Earth as a family of Nations caring for one another, especially in the time of trouble?
We can dispute immigration policies forever. There are, however, some facts we need to keep in mind. First, no nation on Earth has an absolute right to the land on which it exists. As members of the same human family, we have an obligation to care for one another especially in a time of need.
Second, the Haitian refugees have suffered devasting natural disasters, political upheaval, and economic collapse. They are our neighbors. Hopefully, our governmental leaders will address the plight of our neighbors by coming to their aid in substantial and caring ways. President Biden spoke correctly of the Haitian people when in the wake of the latest earthquake, he said, “They are our friends.” The question now is, “How should friends treat one another?”
Finally, as a Nation, we must confront the culture of cruelty and hostile isolationism that has crept into our body politic during the past five years. We do not live on this land as if it is ours alone. The land belongs to God. We are called to be good stewards of our possessions for the sake and well-being of others. We must not forget our sad history of removing and killing Indigenous people from “our” lands. We must learn well the lessons of the past if we seek to be people of justice in the present moment.
Three texts from the Hebrew Scripture challenge us. We should consider them carefully, ponder them sincerely, discerning how we should respond to our friends in their time of need:
You shall also love the stranger,
for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you;
you shall love the alien as yourself,
for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:
I am the Lord your God.
‘Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner,
the fatherless or the widow.’
Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
We must resist those voices in our midst who tempt us to think we have privilege over others because we are better off materially. Ultimately, we need nothing more than the necessities of life. Our sense of being blessed must not obscure us from our duty to do what is right. People have a right to live, and it is our responsibility and blessing to assist them in that right in any way we can.
Blessings to you, Holy Community, as you strive to welcome the stranger who would be your friend.
As things begin to return to a new normal, we at The Interfaith Peace Project are here for you in any way that you need us. The Antioch Center is now open to fully vaccinated people on Wednesdays, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are vigilant and will adjust to any and all recommendations from the state and county. We will continue our work through Zoom as we add in person programs. If you would like to schedule an in person or Zoom program or would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call. You may call or email Tom at: