Friday of the fourth week of Lent, 2023
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34)
Those of us who have the privilege of serving in the field of immigration legal services know all too well what it means to be “close to the brokenhearted.”
Families needlessly separated for decades by outdated immigration laws. Mothers deported away from their children. Asylum seekers returned to countries from which they fled for their lives. And when our systems fail them, our hearts break, too.
We are comforted by our faith in God’s nearness to those who are deeply suffering. We do our best to express that nearness through our work supporting community-based organizations serving low-income immigrants across the United States. We see our work as demonstrating the love of God by extending a hand of welcome and support to vulnerable immigrant families, whenever possible, and to accompany them on their journeys.
The additional two readings from today also reflect an important truth from which we draw hope: that, despite all the horrible things going on in the world today, the truth, goodness, and love of Christ has the final word. In the first reading, the “wicked” plot to kill the “just one,” but they don’t account for the “hidden counsels of God.” In the Gospel, Jesus’ life is threatened as he performs his miracles and proclaims the truth of who he is. His enemies try to arrest him, but “no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.”
God’s ways are mysterious; we are often unable to perceive how his way of love triumphs amid so much suffering and brokenness facing our immigrant brothers and sisters. But, as we approach Easter, our hope increases, and we pray for the light of faith to guide us. We pray that we can reflect that light to others through our work of welcome.
Anna Gallagher is executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., or CLINIC.