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Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
In this Gospel reading In Matthew 2:13-15, we hear how Mary, Joseph, and Jesus fled Bethlehem into Egypt, seeking asylum from Herod’s wrath. Scripture doesn’t provide details about the journey, but we must imagine it was long, and hard, and terrifying, especially for Jesus as a young child.
Christians worship Christ as one person of the Triune God. We worship Christ, whose family fled death and destruction into a foreign land. Christ who undertook the treacherous journey. Christ who we encounter in this text as a hurt and scared child. If we are to call Christ, then we Christians are called to ask ourselves and one another- what is our responsibility to the other immigrants who are seeking refuge?
Did anything happen on your trip to the US that scared or hurt you?
This interview question asked of immigrant children is designed to help build their legal case for asylum. It’s hard to imagine that even one of the children went without fear or pain on the often-treacherous journey.
We do not know what perils Mary, Joseph, and Jesus may have faced as they fled to Egypt, but we do know of the dangers, both natural and human, that many immigrants to the US have encountered on the journey. Border Patrol agents who pour out the water left in the desert by humanitarian organizations, treacherous crossings of mountain and desert terrain, death-dealing rides on top of trains, and inhumane treatment by those who encounter them.
This Lenten season, let us welcome God by welcoming immigrants in whatever way we can, in the knowledge that Christ was once a refugee.
~Grace Cain, MDiv student
This blog is part of a 16-piece series for MIGRATION & HOLY WEEK composed by the students and instructors CTS Contextual Immersions J-Term 2022 Courses on Immigration at the U.S.-Mexico Border. Because of COVID, both the planned travel seminar and the virtual seminar joined for a fully online zoom-based two-week seminar. Instructors compiled, edited the offerings into this series. We hope that this series that integrates our studies and themes of Lent will pose questions for all of us to contemplate and respond to in our life of faith.