As a child when something was bothering us that we didn’t want to talk about my dad would say, “There’s more room out than there is in.” There’s a lot of goodness in those words because when we can get something that is bothering us on the outside, we can better deal with whatever the situation and its possible implications.
With this thought in mind there is something that has been bothering me that I need to get on the outside. A few days ago during RCIA we had a Hispanic couple and their two children as our guests. We invited the couple to come and witness about their experience of coming to and living in our country. Our purpose of doing this type of witness is because we want to teach those who have been newly received into our church at Easter the full extent of what Jesus Christ is calling us to be as a Church of everlasting mercy. In an attempt at full disclosure, this couple plainly admitted that they are in our country illegally. They also said that they plan to return to their country as soon as possible. They said that date is yet to be determined because of the money that it will take for them to safely return with their two young children. In their witness they told us why they migrated to our states. They were from larger families and they needed education and work to be able to thrive as human beings. They said that there were no opportunities for them to be able to succeed in their country, and they saw the risk of migrating to the Unites States as something that they needed to take. When asked how they had been treated in our country their response was mixed. They said in our parish of Sts. Joseph and Paul they have been treated very warmly and with love. Because of this warmth and love they recently married in our parish and have had their children baptized. However, they told of several situations where they were treated very poorly in our wider community of Owensboro. One in particular happened while shopping at one of our local Wal-mart Stores. They spoke of an attendant who after they made their purchase, pushed their purchase onto the floor and made them pick it up. They spoke of another attendant who yelled at them because they didn’t understand their broken English. No matter our political stance, whether we are a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, what happened to this couple is wrong. They firmly admit that they are here illegally. They admit that the reason that they came to our country is because their chance to thrive as human beings was challenged. But as Catholics and Christians we are called to love. We are called to show the merciful face of Jesus to one another. For Christ it doesn’t matter why we are in difficulty, what matters to Him is that we help one another through our difficulty with arms wide open. Moreover, with Christ there are not walls. His Altar is open to all people, no matter the color or nationality, His Body and Blood is here for us to consume so that we can become more like Him for one another. I’m so appreciative of my dad who encouraged me not to hold things in, but to get them out in the open. – Fr. Carl McCarthy