Monday, December 26, 2011

The First Christmas, Baby Jesus -- an "Illegal Immigrant"

In order to be in compliance with the census, Mary and Joseph traveled, as immigrants, to Bethlehem. It was not their home land. As immigrants, there was no place for them to stay. They tried to stay at an inn, but there was no room for them. Mary was pregnant, ready to deliver baby Jesus. The only place they could go that was dry and quiet was a stable. As the prophecies foretold, the promised Savior was born in another country. “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” [Matthew 2:6] Jesus - an anchor baby -- born in Bethlehem in order to claim the rights and privileges of being the son of David. Jesus, a Jewish child, dark haired with brown skin.

Shortly after Jesus' birth, King Herod ordered the killing of the innocent, all children under the age of two. So Jesus and his parents become fugitives -- illegal immigrants -- criminals under the law of the land. They flee once again, this time to Egypt. Jesus is now an illegal immigrant with a criminal record. The crime is sedition, being born a King when there was already a king in the land. The intent of overthrowing a kingdom is a felony.

When Herod is dead, Jesus’ parents return to their own country, not to Bethlehem where Jesus is a legal citizen, but to Nazareth, where Jesus grows up as an illegal alien where he takes the job of carpenter away from other Nazarenes. Jesus did all this. These are the same actions those of the extremist right wing call "illeegals."

If Jesus were born today in Arizona, Arpaio and his masked goons would arrest Mother Mary and Joseph and place them in pink underwear in vermin and disease infested tent city. They would be forced to eat green bologna or starve to death. Mother Mary would be placed in shackles and chained to her hospital bed as she gave birth.

Jesus would be an anchor baby because the teaparty has not yet been successful in changing the 14th amendment -- the bill that would stop him from becoming a citizen. Joseph and Mary are sent to a detainment facility to await ICE decision to deport them. Jesus, as an American citizen, would be sent to an orphanage. Or if the story unfolded a bit closer to the Biblical text, Joseph would have a dream to flee back into the desert and cross back into Mexico with Mary and newborn Jesus. The trek across the Arizona desert is as treacherous and dangerous as the trek from Bethlehem to Egypt. They would have faced starvation, dehydration, and possible death only to find a wall blocking their way.

This week, the week Baby Jesus was born, we must remember the message Baby Jesus brought to the world. His message is clearly defined in the Prayer of St. Francis:

Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

This is the message Baby Jesus brought to the World!

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