Jesus is at the Border: Immigration, Barriers, and God’s Economy

I am not a politician, so I’m not an expert on immigration policies.

I am not an economist, so I’m not an expert on the economic benefits or burdens of immigration.

But I am a public theologian. I try to understand how we can participate with God in setting things right, healing the world, and reconciling human beings with one another, with the world, and with God.

How is God setting things right? Jesus, in one of his most important, if also confusing, prayers, offered these words of unity to the one he called Father. In this prayer, we discover how God is setting things right:

The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as you and I are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them even as you have loved me.

In order to explain this prayer, Christian tradition resorted to a term that is just as confusing: the hypostatic union. A parishioner in my progressive mainline church scolded me once for using this term. He said that such words belong strictly in the seminary and in the ancient world. I’m sure many progressives would agree. After all, haven’t we progressed beyond these ancient and mythical formulas? But I think progressives need to reclaim such words. The immigration crisis is a prime example why.

The hypostatic union refers to a mystery: the difference and unity between Jesus and the Father. The difference between the divine and the human coexisted within Jesus. There was enough room in Jesus for the divine and the human to unite harmoniously in abundant love.

In the same mysterious way that Jesus and God coexisted in unity, Jesus and his fellow human beings coexist in unity. In his prayer, Jesus says that he is “in them.” There is enough room in each of us for the presence of Jesus. Jesus coexists within everyone, but Jesus constantly reminded his followers that he was particularly one with the weak, the marginalized, the hungry, the poor, the neglected, the stranger, the expelled, and the immigrant – in other words, the victims of human violence.

In fact, Jesus was an immigrant. Jesus prayed to his Father, “…that the world may know that you have sent me…”Jesus immigrated from the Father to the world. And what did we humans do to him? We told him that he wasn’t welcome. We expelled him as a victim of our own violence. By being expelled to the cross, Jesus identifies himself with all victims of violence. Jesus became an immigrant who was expelled from this world so that we might stop expelling immigrants.

Jesus is at the border of the United States and we are expelling him.

So, why do we keep expelling Jesus? Because we don’t actually believe in him. We don’t believe that in Jesus God is setting the world right by showing us that there is a divine unity of love that unites “us” and “them.” We actually think Jesus was wrong when he revealed that in God’s economy there is enough love and bread and fish and water and housing and money and food and healing and forgiveness and reconciliation for everyone.

We don’t believe in Jesus and we don’t trust his way of unity. Rather, we form unity by being against an “other.” We form artificial barriers between us and them, which allow us to claim that we are good and they are bad. These barriers are artificial because they can be anything: political, economic, racial, and national identities all provide barriers that we use to unite “us” against “them.”

Christians should know better. Rather than using differences to unite us against them, differences provide an opportunity to unite us with them by sharing in God’s economy of abundant love. But instead of believing in the economy Jesus taught, we believe in an economy of scarcity. We are constantly told that there is not enough for everyone, so we need to keep all we can for ourselves. Under the spell of scarcity, we are told that “they” are a threat to “us,” which means “we” need to kick “them” out.

But we know that Jesus is one with immigrants. So when Christian politicians demand that we send Jesus, who comes to us in immigrants, back to their countries plagued by violence, they show their utter lack of faith in Jesus. That’s not Christian. That’s anti-Christian. Jesus breaks down the barriers of hostility between “us” and “them.” In Jesus, differences become opportunities for us to love them as if we were one with them because in Jesus we are one with them. Jesus was fully within his Jewish tradition when he broke down these barriers. For example, if conservative Christians really believe that the Bible is “the inerrant Word of God,” then they would abide by the words of Leviticus,

When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as a citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Biblical faith, like the hypostatic union, sets a trajectory that ultimately breaks down the national, racial, and economic barriers that separate “us” from “them.” It claims that there is enough room for all in God’s economy that cares for everyone, but especially for those we label “them.” Differences remain, but those differences should not to be used as justification for setting up barriers of oppression and scapegoating. Rather, those differences are opportunities to show God’s economy of love and hospitality for all people, but especially for those that Leviticus calls “the alien” among us.

The glory that the Father gave to Jesus, and that Jesus gives to us, is the glory of uniting love. It’s the glory that embraces and makes room for the “other” – in this case, the immigrant other – and makes us one.

The good news is that it’s not too late to change. We can repent. We can change our hearts and minds so that we following Jesus in breaking down the barriers between “us” and “them.” We can embrace our differences and become one with God and our fellow human beings. We can join in God’s economy of abundant love and set things right by healing the world and trusting that there is enough room, enough wealth, enough food, and enough housing for “us” and for “them.”

Jesus is at the border. He is “in them.” How will we respond to his presence among us?

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About Adam Ericksen

Adam Ericksen is the Education Director for The Raven Foundation. He writes blogs and films vlogs on the Raven Foundation website that explore the intersections of mimetic theory, the news, religion, and popular culture. He is also a youth pastor where he engages young people with Christian tradition, mimetic theory, and youth culture.

  • Tim Warner

    this universally applicable? At the southern border of Mexico, a
    strongly Catholic/Christian country, is there the hospitality,
    generosity, and embracing of immigrants demanded of Americans? How about
    in the rest of South America, is there a Christian openness to
    immigrants from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador? Central America is
    strongly socialist, if not communist as is most of South America. Why
    would immigrants run to a discriminating, racist, bigoted, English
    -speaking xenophobic capitalist country rather than some place more

    • Adam Ericksen

      Hi Tim. I’m not exactly sure what you are getting at, so forgive me if I’m not answering your question. If you are asking whether or not the Christian principle of loving and caring for our neighbors, including the immigrant neighbor, is universal for Christians everywhere, I’d say yes. That Christians in other places don’t do it, or we suspect that they don’t do it, doesn’t change the fact that that is what we are called to do.

      • Tim Warner

        What I am getting at is that America is EXPECTED to be the place of refuge for all who are dissatisfied, poor, oppressed, etc; in effect,all who want to leave their own country for whatever reason. We are expected to feed ,clothe, house, take care of every need of those who enter this country whether legally or not. NO OTHER COUNTRY on the planet is expected to do what America is expected to do. And America is then vilified for being bigoted, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, jingoist, aggressively imperialistic, anti-woman, and a host of other social and politically incorrect evils. Yet no one is breaking down the doors, or borders of other countries as is occurring here.

        • John Schipper

          Sorry tim but you’re wrong. There are refugee camps in countries all across the world that are supported by governments who make no claim to Moral superiority. We as americans claim to be christian, so this is an opportunity to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak. We are the richest nation on earth, and if we can’t take care of a few children, we really need to drop the christian label.

          • Tim Warner

            for example….?

          • John Schipper

            Palestinian camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Pick a country in Africa; South Sudan, CAR, Laos and Cambodia back in the 80′s etc. I’m not saying they were nice places, but they are and were there. War causes refugees, natural disasters, and social/political upheaval does the same. People will always try to get away from intolerable conditions.
            read the base of the statue of liberty. judging by your name, you like me are a descendant of immigrants. so what right do we have to reject others seeking a better life? Also, these kids are showing up in other countries, like Costa Rica and Panama. So it’s not just America.

          • Tim Warner

            i think you are missing my point, John. America is expected (largely by left-leaning liberals) to provide the American way of life to all who enter into the USA, whether or not it is a legal entry. The current influx, which dominates today’s media, is apparently an orchestrated and unusual “event” and not legitimate. The predominate ethos of earlier immigration to America, to which the Statue of Liberty’s quotation addresses, implied a desire to BE an American, to assimilate, to contribute, to take advantage of liberty’s opportunity to build an American life. Those immigrants of yore were not children who were dumped upon New York’s harbor by their original homelands’ governments, as are the current illegal immigrants in our southern border states. And the immigrants of the past, in New York, entered legally, and with humility and gratitude. I don’t see anything similar in today’s massive illegal immigration. There is a right way and a wrong way to enter America and partake of OUR benefits.

          • John Schipper

            I’m not missing your point. Just challenging your assumptions.

          • cken

            Being accused is not exactly like being a criminal. These kids know
            what they are doing otherwise they would have run away to Mexico.
            Perhaps you underestimate how devious and conniving and determined some children can be. We don’t need to coddle them. They are not going to become good little boys and girls overnight just because we cater to them. They should be in a detention facility and then shipped back. Besides what are we going to do with them they have no where to go other than back to where they came from.

          • John Schipper

            I’ve raised several kids and fostered others so no, I don’t underestimate children. However, these children (avg age 14) aren’t old enough (for the most part) to be considered ‘criminal’ in this country. look at what they are leaving and that they risk life and limb in the hope of making it here. dig a little deeper than CNN or Fox or MSNBC. Jesus didn’t call us to just love those ‘like us’ in fact, just the opposite. and I really think that if we reject these people, we are rejecting Him.

          • cken

            I can’t argue with your last line. However, they are criminal. They had intent to break the law and enter illegally. Albeit they aren’t old enough to be tried as adults. Nearly half the people of the world struggles to stay alive every day so these kids aren’t special and we can’t correct their problems at home. The irritating part is they could have just stayed in Mexico rather than cross that whole country to get to the U.S. I just can’t justify spending all this money on criminals when we have citizens going to bed hungry and the government is taking money away from medical treatment for the elderly. For a “Christian” country that whole honor your father and mother thing is long gone. Today it’s just put them in a nursing home and forget about them. As Jesus said the poor will always be with you but we can’t help the poor of the whole world so let’s take care of our own first. We could do with them like we did with the Japanese- Americans in WWII or the American Indians before that. I guess I can’t make this a religious thing when most Christians ignore most of the ten commandments. Treatment of the illegals I consider to be specious so Christians can say see what a good person I am or what a great Christian country we are.

          • M.E. Hope

            “As Jesus said the poor will always be with you but we can’t help the poor of the whole world so let’s take care of our own first.” This is the saddest, most mean hearted statement I’ve ever read.

          • cken

            Not sad or mean, just reality. I don’t think even Jesus would put criminals up in 4 star hotels and feed them steak. OK so that is a little sarcastic, but why should we coddle illegal aliens, criminals, when we have actual citizens who go to be hungry and are living in squalor. Why don’t we use this 3.7 billion to shelter the homeless. You would have to agree that would be better than pampering future gang members. I know you don’t care when the homeless freeze or starve to death because that is their choice, right? Priorities, kind person, priorities! We can’t be everything to everybody.

          • Adam Ericksen

            Do you mean the 4 star hotel where within the last year it’s Google reviews have been from 1-3 on a five star scale with comments like this: “What a disgusting experience we receive in the hotel we stay over this weekend in rooms 119 & 120 in both we find spiders and roaches; plus some plumbing problems in the shower. We ask for the manager to give our complaint and they say she was busy, and she never went out. What a bad service. On the front desk…. they say they can’t do anything for us” and this, “worst motel ever all rooms smell molds ! dont get fooled with web ads its bad bad motel no more i will stay by this trash.”? That hotel? Ahhh luxury!

            And “future gang members”? Really?!? How do you know? “We can’t be everything to everybody”?!? Right. Do you remember in the Gospels when the disciples said, “Hey, Jesus. Seriously. We can’t be everything to everybody. Why don’t we just send them all home?” And Jesus said, “Oh I guess you’re right. I was going to show you by multiplying these fish and loaves of bread that with God there is enough for everyone. And then I was going to tell you that you will do even greater things than this, but thank you bringing me back down to reality.”

          • cken

            I did not know we had the ability to multiply fish and bread. That would be good even our poorest citizens and homeless wouldn’t have to go to bed hungry. True neither of knows about the gang thing it just seems logical that the gangs or the cartel are planting groups/members over here rather like church planting

          • Barb Cooper-Humphrey

            Are you saying because others do not follow the word, you shouldn’t have to???

          • Tim Warner

            You know very well what I am saying. Liberals choose the obtuse point of view which is antithetical to that which truly is right and good and just. And they use a false superiority and self-righteousness to make a point they would never back up in action. But as a liberal, one doesn’t need to act; they just need to say they care.

          • Barb Cooper-Humphrey

            Also.. Immigrants that entered in New York WERE NOT LEGAL.. They became Legal as they were processed through Ellis Island. But they came without passports or prior approval , were mostly poor, uneducated, unskilled, sickly and some were criminals. They did not speak English and settled in communities of their own kind bringing with them there own traditions & culture.

            Those that were here before they came said , they would destroy America as we know it & cost America too much money. They did cost America money but they paid it back 100 fold by becoming productive workers, inventors and business owners (even though most said they would just be moochers).

            There is very little difference between previous imigrations and this one

    • Kimo

      Why don’t we follow the same policy as Mexico and ship them all north to Canada. I’m sure Canada will welcome them with open arms.

  • Jackie Heaton

    If these kids were blond, blue eyed Presbyterians there wouldn’t be any questions. Label the racism for what it is and remember what Jesus said about “as you do the least of these.” If He came back tomorrow it wouldn’t take three years to put him on the cross. He wouldn’t last a week. And yes, I passed total disgust about twelve squares back.

    • ucfengr

      If you look at the countries largely populated by “blond, blue eyed Presbyterians”, they don’t have many reasons to want to leave.

      • BHG


    • Adam Ericksen

      There is definitely a huge racial element here, Jackie. Thanks for making that explicit. Your comment reminds me that Jesus was lucky to make it three years – after he gave his first sermon the crowd wanted to throw him over a cliff. Fortunately, he escaped death that time. But your point is well taken.

      • cken

        Wrong! Wrong! There are no racial issues here. The issues are legal and economic.

        • Barb Cooper-Humphrey

          I doubt it… Racial and Political most likely

      • Phil Steinacker

        Wow! How about judge not lest you be judged?

        How dare you attempt to peer into peoples’ hearts and then claim the ability to read their motives?

        You haven’t got anything to substantiate that considering to make it stick you must be able to know what’s in the heart of each individual you judge and condemn with your insightful wisdom.

        Actually, for a good number of progressives it’s not exactly that, as it is for most of Lenin’s useful idiots like you, Adam, and your sympathizers posting here. The truth is that progressives have long made such accusations to advance their agendas, and history has shown that accusing of racism those who dissent from your peculiar form of orthodoxy has for decades yielded great results politically.

        Of course, when one of yours is caught in a criminal act then cries of racism are used to intimidate critics, proving you all know no shame.

        I don’t know anyone who hates immigrants because they’re Latino. Heck, I don’t know anyone who hates immigrants at all. I have seen plenty of folks who hate conservatives, though. I’ve seen folks who hate conservatives so much they will claim they know what their motives and feelings are, even though there is no way they could possibly know these things for a fact. It’s called projection, aka bigotry. “Conservatives are racists. You are conservative, so you are a racist.”

        What we do “hate”, so to speak, is the persistently blatant ploys by the Democratic Party to achieve a permanent majority by pumping up the numbers of those beholden to the Party through the many favors dispensed to those who break our laws to come here, and even to stay here. Democrats have a double standard when it comes to crime.

        False compassion is when you extol phony humanitarian issues to better your own lot and attain your agenda. What better preemptive defense than to label your critics as racists?

        I love that you’re doing it, though. You all have lost any perspective. You’ve used this ploy so often and have become so cocky and over-confident in your continuing success using this over-worn tactic that you’ve failed to notice how often it is attacked and mocked in memes across the Internet. That is the equivalent of the end coming when you are being mocked on Fallon or Letterman.

        This shameless ploy by lefties and your fascist leader in the white house has caused immigration to surge as an issue of concern to only 3% of Americans to the #1 issue on their minds today.

        People have caught on to the ploy, but you persist in using it. Combined with the disgust everyday non-political Americans now feel at having been played, the big backlash is just beginning.

        So do me a favor – keep it up. Oh – while you’re at it, don’t forget to add that other oh, so effective line, “It’s Bush’s fault!”

        Yep, that one’s a keeper!

        • Adam Ericksen

          Hi Phil. I do wish liberals and conservatives would take responsibility to speak better of one another. And as for my part in being judgmental, thank you for pointing that out. I have many blind spots and I appreciate you showing this one to me. I would say, however, that racism infects every aspect of our culture, including myself – as I’ve written in more detail elsewhere on this blog. I don’t know if it infects you, but it does infect me. I need constant repentance. Finally, I’m not interested in blaming Bush or Obama. Conservatives and liberals look exactly the same in our hostile denunciations of one another, and that gets us no where. At any rate, thanks again for the comment.

          Best wishes,

    • SacerdosNovo

      I don’t know about this… You are implying that the primary reason people are upset about this is that the children, the adults crossing the boarder are not white. That is a bold claim, especially in light of the fact that the first arguments on the other side are raised in terms of law and safety. These children need our mercy and love while they are here, but to not enforce the idea that illegal immigration is wrong only encourages more children to make the horrific journey. It elicits a false hope of a promised land in America which inspires these children to make a journey in which thousands are maimed, raped, sold into sex slavery, and killed. Children’s bodies have washed up on the Rio Grand because illegal immigration is seen a viable and legitimate option. When those who make it and arrive here they are locked up in the most inhumane of conditions in a part of the country that Americans are abandoning. The violence on the southern boarder is their embrace to our wonderful country.

      Our Lord’s words are life giving in this situation, but don’t allow politics to conflate your exegesis. The assisting of these children and upholding our boarder and immigration laws are not at odds. The tragedy will continue as long as we fail to enforce our own legitimate boarder and immigration laws.

    • Gregory Trimboli

      I am not sure why I am wasting my words on such a ignorant statement as “If these kids were blond, blue eyed Presbyterians there wouldn’t be any questions.” Are you really that stupid? There are no other issues with a porous border except racism? Terrorists, drugs, disease (now Ebola), jobs and let’s just throw in fairness for those following the law waiting there turn to come to America. You are an idiot.

  • Yonah

    I like the intent of the author’s post. I push the envelope to assert that the rightful trajectory of the Judaic tradition in the Church is outright political. Thus, as Jesus is indeed at the border….who is in the White House? The deportations began today. Really? And, it matters not what people are being deported to?

    • Adam Ericksen

      I appreciate you pushing the envelope, Yonah. Thanks for that.

    • Barb Cooper-Humphrey

      Jesus is in the White House too.

      • Yonah

        On behalf of the kids, say more. What do you mean?

  • cken

    i don’t think anybody wants to “expel” immigrants. BUT, They are criminals. Was Jesus? BUT they cause economic chaos for the United States. Did Jesus for any country? How can we think it would be OK to spend 3.7 billion dollars to help criminals and it is also OK to take 780 million from Medicare therefore from the elderly. We can put economic restrictions on the healthcare available to the elderly resulting in the premature death of many but it is unacceptable to deny funds to illegal aliens. I guess God isn’t within the elderly or they are so close to “going home” we might as well help them along. AAAH the economic theological conundrums.
    BUT, you might be on to something. We could close the border buy having all the Mormon and JW missionaries patrol the border; bet the aliens wouldn’t cross the border then. :-)

    • John Schipper

      Yup. Jesus was killed by the religious leaders and accused of being a criminal. We’re dealing with children here don’t forget

  • jackryan

    Oh my word you cannot be serious.

  • SacerdosNovo

    Within this article are some political points that are arguable, however your theology needs a lot of tightening. The hypostatic union has nothing to do with the relationship of the Second Person of the Trinity and and the First Person of the Trinity. The hypostatic union refers directly and narrowly to the union of the divine nature of the Second Person of the Trinity with human nature resulting in the divine person of Jesus Christ. I write these because you speak of the unity of “Jesus and God.” There is no difference between the two. There is one person, Jesus, who has two natures. The union of the natures is not the union of two persons.

    Second of all, the hypostatic union, while confirmed in scripture is not in and of itself explicitly scriptural. It was affirmed in the Council of Ephesus and for the first time definitively taught in the Council of Chalcedon.

    Lastly, I would greatly caution you in your reduction of Jesus to an immigrant and his mission to have us stop expelling immigrants. If this was who Jesus was and the goal of his mission then we are still in our sin. Christ descended from heaven, took on human nature, suffered, died, and was raised from the dead ascending to the Father for the purpose of freeing us from sin and opening heaven to us. This has the most serious ramifications for relations to our brothers and sisters, but please do not trivialize Christ’s sacrifice by saying that it was so that we could deal in a better way with our immigration problems.

    • rodlarocque1931

      Yes I second the suspicion of reductionism in this article. Frankly it is offensive.
      Our Lord didn’t come into this world to relieve people’s poverty or social oppression, He came to enable us to gain grace and win heaven, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, in fact one could argue, like St Francis, that poverty is a true path to sanctification, so by inviting illegals to a richer country we are depriving them of a better chance at salvation.
      You can’t have it both ways, either Our Lord came for the poor and thus sanctified poverty and thus we should encourage a modest frugal life, or He doesn’t have much to say about it, and therefore there is no obligation to relieve it.

      • SacerdosNovo

        I think you make a good point concerning our Lord’s mission. I would, however, be hesitant to say that extreme poverty is a good thing. There are certain aspects of poverty that open people up to a generosity and love that might not have been possible having material wealth. It is an injustice, though, when any human being does not have the basic necessities of life and we are called on by Christ to answer their needs. Like I said in a separate comment, this, however, does not conflict with legitimate boarder laws and safety.

    • cken

      I am confused. Since hypostatic union was made up by man then we can define it however we want. I am always amused how those who promulgate themselves as authoritative intellectuals so often miss the more pragmatic concept usually to exacerbate their self aggrandizement.
      So if Jesus and God are one and the same then when Jesus was here on earth there was no God in Heaven. Perhaps Jesus was just half man and half God like Hercules. Please explain you must be quite knowledgeable on these matters.

      • SacerdosNovo

        My intention was never self aggrandizement. I also, never claimed to be an authoritative intellectual, despite have two masters degrees in theology. So, no I am not an “authority,” however I do have some knowledge on the subject. It is important to understand that it was the author of the article who used the term hypostatic union. This is a very particular theological term that is academic in nature and bears a significant history of usage. If one is going to employ such a term it should be used correctly. I am simply offering a gentle correction in it’s usage.

        I understand the question you pose, however, the concept of divine nature implied within is not Christian. While, I assume sarcastic, your comment on Jesus being like Hercules is telling because the divine nature you impute to God is very much like the ancient paganism of Rome, Greece, and Egypt. The God Christianity proclaims is not the anthropomorphized version held by pagan antiquity. In fact, it carries forward the torch of the monotheistic claim of Judaism, stating that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Christianity professes that God is not material. Therefore, God is not made up of parts, one to be here and another there. Nor does God “move” in the sense of traversing space. He is everywhere, or rather everywhere is “in” Him. So the hypostatic union, assuming and working in a very particular philosophical system, attempts to explain the reality that is Jesus Christ, the God-man. The divine nature is personified, enfleshed within Christ while not destroying or substantially changing his humanity and his humanity not limiting or substantially changing his divine nature. The term hypostatic union is on which offers insight into the incredible mystery that is Jesus Christ. I would offer you the Creed of Chalcedon which definitively explained the term hypostatic union by describing how the two natures relate.

    • Adam Ericksen

      Thanks for your wonderful explanation of the hypostatic union. It is eloquent and succinct. I was pretty clear that it refers to the union between the human and the divine in Jesus, but your more detailed description is much appreciated. To your second point, I never said that the hypostatic union was explicitly scriptural. In fact, I said it came from Christian tradition. But, once again, I appreciate your continued explanation of the hypstatic union and your reference to the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. To your third point, where you see a reduction in Jesus being an immigrant, I see a massive expansion of the human understanding of God. After all, throughout human history people have easily seen the gods in the rulers/powerful, but in Jesus we begin to see that God is one with the oppressed, marginalized, and those who aren’t welcome – in this case, immigrants. Your final sentence confuses me…Indeed, Christ’s sacrifice has serious and far reaching ramifications in relation to all of humanity – including our immigration problems. To treat our fellow human beings in a way that says they aren’t welcome is to trivialize Christ’s sacrifice, whereas to treat our fellow human beings with hospitality is a way of honoring Christ’s sacrifice and the thread of radical hospitality that runs throughout the Bible.

      Thanks again,

      • SacerdosNovo

        Not a problem! Thanks for weighing in! Where you wrote, “The hypostatic union refers to a mystery: the difference and unity
        between Jesus and the Father. The difference between the divine and the
        human coexisted within Jesus,” I thought was somewhat vague in the first sentence, clouding the second, although I believe I understand your point. I disagree with your usage of the term for comparison between the Father and the Son, however that discussion is for a different forum, ha ha.

        On the second point, my error, thank you for the correction.

        It is to the last point wherein I find the language you use troubling, though. The term immigrant means a specific thing and is essentially rooted in political and geographical ties. Christ himself according to the Gospels never “immigrated.” But you are referring to the Incarnation, the joining of the divine and human natures in Jesus Christ. Even there though, it is an incredible stretch of the term in analogy. I understand that you are writing popular theology, and to do so means to meet people who are not trained in theology where they are at, yet that does not mean that we can be any less cautious and precise in how we speak of God. How often does Christ tell his apostles, “The Father and I are one.” The Father is with him, the immigration you speak of, pushing it in very concrete language, is incorrect despite the good message trying to be related.

        I realize that trivialize is a strong word, but any reduction of the salvific mission of Christ to simply being example for us is trivializing. You mention the cross only once in your article placing his act of taking of it upon himself in a very passive form (“being expelled to the cross”), not indicating its atonement for sin and our grace-filled transformation by it, but only mentioning that it helped him identify with victims of violence. The resurrection was not mentioned, the Paschal Mystery was not mentioned. This is the most central idea of Christianity, the very source from which we as a Church spring and discover Christ as he truly is. He did identify with the poor, the marginalized, and those who suffer violence. It is precisely because of his mission to free us from sin that he was able to identify with the most vulnerable in our societies, not be political liberator, who so many looked for in the messiah, one who would overthrow Rome. But he repeatedly taught and showed them that this was not his mission. We are to see in his supreme act of love the source of grace impelling us to care for our brothers and sisters. I’m simply pointing out that Jesus’ “identity” as immigrant is secondary at best, and harmful when not connected to the Paschal Mystery in its fullness. Hospitality is a significant theme. However, it is nowhere near the level of importance of the soteriological effects of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, from which that same hospitality finds its source

        Sorry for the length and thanks for the response! God bless and have a good one..

  • rodlarocque1931

    Its a legal issue, if you reward people for breaking the law, more lawlessness will result.

  • Kimo

    Fortunately, we know the answer to this situation, because Jesus spoke to it: “Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but
    climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1)

  • Helen in Missouri

    Jesus did not “become an immigrant and was expelled from the world;” He was/is/ever shall be God and was executed by His enemies. The “followers” to whom He spoke in the quoted High Priestly Prayer were His apostles, the men (and now their successors) whom He ordained and consecrated as the first bishops and sent out to bring souls, who otherwise would have “died in their sins,” to salvation and eternal life which He insisted could come only through Him and His divinely-established Church.
    Mr. Ericksen several times says “we,” but, I suspect, he doesn’t mean “we” as in he, you and I personally opening our homes and sponsoring one or more refugees — living with them and financially supporting them until they are able to (legally) support themselves. He means government bureaucracies using tax dollars to turn them loose, victimizing both them and society. He (and other Catholic liberals including many bishops) make these statements in the name of Jesus, yet both personally and in general, reject the very concept of the social reign of Christ which would actually bring true justice and without which their appeals often appear simply as psycho/spiritual blackmail.

    • Adam Ericksen

      Hi Helen. I’m not Catholic, but I greatly appreciate the tradition. By “We” I mean all of the above. Christ bids us to love everyone, even those we call our enemies, as he has loved us. How we do that is up to us, but it should look something like how Christ love us – and Christ went out of his way to show hospitality and care for those who were vulnerable and marginalized.

      Hope all is well,

  • William Murphy

    Jesus was under the direct threat of death at the hand of Herod. That is why his family fled to the Roman province of Egypt. They did not illegally enter another country. They just went from one Roman province to another. Like going from New York to Pennsylvania. Once Herod died, they returned home. There are hundreds of millions of poor children around the world. Are we to take them all in? What about our own poor children? Shouldn’t we take care of them first? The children of Mali are far poorer than the children of Central America. Why don’t we take them first? It’s the La Raza types who are the racists, hence the name of their organization.