“The Only Solution is Love.” That’s the slogan on one of my favorite Catholic Worker t-shirts and I absolutely believe it to be true. How are we going to heal the world unless we just love each other? Forgive, leap over our differences, find the person on the other side… and take the adventure that you find there. Quit hanging on to what we’ve got and give our open hands to God. Let God lead.
This week, God’s been leading me into court rooms. A new experience for the guys, and for me.
On Friday when Capo and I walked into the waiting room outside of the immigration court in Buffalo, we encountered a roomful of anxious-looking people, all waiting for a hearing, as we were. We stood by the door, waiting for what seemed an awfully long time. Finally the door opened and a group of people came out. Among them was a young woman who looked at Capo with recognition and apparent relief. She was the cousin of someone in our community, and I had been trying unsuccessfully to find her in the system. Now we could tell her cousin we’d seen her. I hope that was a God-moment for her, one of those times when God whispers, “don’t worry! I’m here!”
In that moment I also thought of how Capo is viewed in the Mexican community, the respect and trust that is so different from the way the government views him. Things like integrity and character don’t get measured by the presence or absence of a passport. In the same way, the young man in our community who will have his day in immigration court at the end of the month has sterling qualities that won’t show up, there. The government looks at him and sees his immigration status. I look at him and see a young man carrying the responsibilities of someone much older, working so hard, not even out of his teens.
In the Gospel this week, Jesus breaks the rules of his time and place and reaches out to touch a leper. The encounter changes both of them. The person with leprosy gets healed, and starts telling people about it. Things change for Jesus, too, because since he touched a leper he’s ritually unclean. Now he’s hanging out with the people on the fringes. Personally, I like hanging out with the people on the fringes. Things look different from here.
So we went to court, and it all happened as we were told to expect. Capo was given a date to return, in April 2013. We were the last called, and so watched person after person go before the judge. He seemed reasonably kind. I heard him speak sympathetically to several people. On the other hand, a number of people were chided for showing up in court without their Notice to Appear in hand. Capo had his because I’d thought there was a chance it would be necessary. But how were they supposed to know that? The system is so appallingly unfair to people on the outside of it.
Last night I was visiting as I do every week, to have some Religious Ed time with the youngest member of our community. We noticed lights outside, whirling around. There were two police cars over at the next-door-neighbor’s house, police officers walking around a truck with flashlights. Looking out the window, I noticed the cat was trying to get in, and went to open the door for her. “No, Pastora!” shouted several voices. Good grief, pastor! Don’t open the door when the police are outside! Two realities, two world-views: that on the inside like most of us reading this have, and that of people locked out of the system. Jesus reached across that divide for healing and life, and got changed. Let’s us do the same.
Love and light to all
PS Ash Wednesday Mass with distribution of ashes, Wednesday February 22, 4:30 pm in the St Joe’s dining room. Come celebrate the start of Lent with us!
PPS Breakfast after Mass will resume when Linda comes back from Ireland in a few weeks.
Come visit us, any Sunday!
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620