All week long, I’ve been praying and reflecting on the mass shootings in California, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.
El Paso hit me in a personal way. My family is Mexican and American, and we trace our roots back to the early 1800s in what is now Texas; I lived much of my adult life there, including my five years as Archbishop of San Antonio.
But El Paso is more than personal. With El Paso a line has been crossed in our nation.
In recent years, we have seen the evil of African Americans being targeted in racist terror attacks, notably with the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. With El Paso, for the first time, a massacre has been carried out in the name of stopping Mexican migration.
In the 22 dead in El Paso, and the two dozen more wounded, in the children left with no parents, in the shattered security of a peaceful border town, we are left with some hard questions about what our nation is becoming.
If “white nationalism” is on the rise, it is a sign of how far we have fallen from the Christian universalism of our nation’s founding ideals.
In Jesus Christ, there is no Mexican or black, no Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean or Filipino, no Russian or Italian, African or Salvadoran, no migrant or native-born.
In Jesus Christ, there are only children of God — made in his image, temples of the Holy Spirit, endowed by their Creator with dignity and equality and human rights that must be protected and that no one can violate.
The humanity of others is never negotiable. Men and women do not become less than human, less a child of God, because they are “undocumented.” Yet, in our nation, it has become common to hear migrants talked about and treated as if they are somehow beneath caring about.
Jesus calls us to find him in the poor and the migrant, the prisoner, the homeless, and the sick. He calls us to love others as ourselves, to love others as he loved us. The love we show to those who come to us seeking a new life is the love we show to Christ. He does not make exceptions for only the “deserving poor” or for those with the proper papers.
After El Paso, it is clear that our mission is to help our society to see our common humanity — that we are all children of God, meant to live together as brothers and sisters, no matter the color of our skin, the language we speak, or the place we were born.
Full story at Angelus News.