Have you ever thought of God’s migration into time? Or the exodus of his people? Archbishop Tomas Wenski has.
Remembering, as we do in the Christmas season, that the Son of God “migrated” from heaven to live among us and that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were themselves refugees in the land of Egypt, leads us to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking.” Archbishop Thomas Wenski
As one of the most complex issues in the world, migration underscores not only conflict at geographical borders but also between national security and human insecurity, sovereign rights and human rights, civil law and natural law, and citizenship and discipleship.
Yet the theme of migration is at the heart of the Judeo-Christian scriptures. From the call of Abraham to the exodus from Egypt and Israel’s wandering in the desert and later experience of exile, migration has been part of salvation history. From Jesus’ birth, understood as the movement of God into this alien world as a human being, to his resurrection as a return to the Father, and from the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt to the missionary activity of the church, the very identity of the people of God is inextricably intertwined with the story of movement, risk and hospitality.
God as refugee
The second theological notion central to the immigration debate is the Verbum Dei (Word of God). In the Incarnation, God, in Jesus, crosses the divide that exists between divine life and human life. In the Incarnation, God migrates to the human race, making his way into the far country of human discord and disorder, a place of division and dissension, a territory marked by death and the demeaning treatment of human beings.
In Matthew’s account God not only takes on human flesh and migrates into our world but actually becomes a refugee when his family flees political persecution and escapes into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). Jesus assumes the human condition of the most vulnerable among us, undergoing hunger, thirst, rejection and injustice, walking the way of the cross, overcoming the forces of death that threaten human life. He enters into the broken territory of human experience and offers his own wounds in solidarity with those who are in pain. The Jesus story opens up for many migrants a reason to hope, especially in what often seems like a hopeless predicament.
Taken from an essay by Daniel Groody