The “Herods” of our times

    December 28, 2023
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    Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt and stay there until I tell you.
    Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.

    As we reflect on today’s reading from Matthew, we see Jesus incarnate in the families fleeing for their lives and arriving at our southern border. We see Jesus incarnate in the babies and children huddled in shelters and sleeping on the streets of Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Juarez and Tijuana with their mothers and fathers, waiting to be received and welcomed by us in the land of plenty. The “Herod” of extreme violence and poverty propels them north to protect their lives and seek dignity. The “Herod” of many of our countrymen and women reject them and leave their lives in danger. And like Rachel, we see mothers weeping without consolation for their children.

    John, in the first reading, reminds us that God is light. He instructs us that when we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another and are cleansed from all sin. Despite the many “Herods” who might be encountered today, there are just as many who walk in light and are in fellowship with our immigrant brothers and sisters at the border. Religious and non-profit workers and volunteers join hands and hearts to alleviate their suffering. This fellowship is more important than ever. We must raise our voices and stand by and with the men, women and children stranded at our borders in their pleas for protection and dignity.

    Anna Marie Gallagher is Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC).

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