Baby Jesus was a Dreamer in Egypt

Loyola Marymount University student and "Dreamer" Maria Carolina Gomez joins a rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program outside the Edward Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles on Sept. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (Caption amended by RNS) Loyola Marymount University student and "Dreamer" Maria Carolina Gomez joins a rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program outside the Edward Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles on Sept. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (Caption amended by RNS)

I feel guilty that I have not written a column on "Dreamers," those children who were brought illegally into the United States by their parents. The reason I find it difficult to write such a column is that for me the whole idea of deporting Dreamers is so mean and unjust that I find it incomprehensible that anyone would want to do it.

No matter what you think of people coming into the country illegally, one can hardly blame children brought by their parents. And once these children have spent their formative years here, the idea of sending them back to a country they do not remember, with a language they may not know, is spiteful.

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“You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt”

It is especially appalling as we conclude the Christmas season to hear Christians denounce amnesty for Dreamers. Did they listen to the Gospels at all during Christmas? Do they not understand that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were refugees fleeing for their lives to take sanctuary in Egypt? Do they not realize that Baby Jesus was a Dreamer in Egypt?

The Jesus of Matthew’s Gospel was simply repeating the experience of the Jewish people who also took refuge in Egypt. The Egyptians, like many Americans today, exploited these immigrants, treating them like slaves and cheating them of their wages.

The Bible is filled with admonitions about treating strangers and aliens justly.

  • “You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:20).
     
  •  “So you too should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:19).
     
  • “You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:34).

Where are the biblical fundamentalists who say that American law should be based on the Bible? Christians, especially those who believe that scripture should be the foundation of American law, should be leading the charge in support of Dreamers, refugees and other immigrants.Instead, what we see is too many Christians siding with a president who holds Dreamers hostage for ransom $18 billion to pay for his wall along the border with Mexico. Legislation to protect Dreamers is urgently needed; a wall is not. Yet, Donald Trump insists that he will not sign a bill protecting Dreamers unless it includes his wall.

Every white person in this country has ancestors who came here as refugees or immigrants. Many were fleeing political or religious persecution, but millions more came because America provided economic opportunities for themselves and their families. Today’s refugees and immigrants are coming for exactly the same reasons. But now the drawbridge is being pulled up by those whose immigrant ancestors arrived earlier.

Shame!

Some Christian churches have declared themselves sanctuary churches, following an ancient tradition when secular authorities could not invade a church to get an accused person. While churches cannot guarantee sanctuary today, these churches have symbolically placed themselves with the undocumented and not only accompany them when arrested but also financially support their legal defense.

It is time to stop playing politics and start acting like God-fearing people. Otherwise we will hear this on Judgment Day: “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was … a stranger and you gave me no welcome” (Matthew 25).

Genevieve Burns
1 week 4 days ago

This article is so flawed that it's beyond belief. The Holy Family were not illegal aliens. They fled on a TEMPORARY basis to avoid a massacre of innocents. They were instructed by an Angel of God to do something (flee Herod). When an angel tells you to do something, you do it. This doesn't compare one iota to illegals breaking into a country dishonestly. Furthermore, the Roman Empire controlled the entire area, so the Holy Family was not "crossing a border" illegally into another realm.

Now contrast that with the Dreamers, who's supposedly Catholic Mexican parents (as been demonstrated before here) willfully and selfishly broke 3 Commandments: do not covet, lie, and steal. Their concept of "me first" superseded the Golden Rule of Love God first, and also Love their Neighbor. Jesus/God does not condone dishonesty of any kind. It is not loving of your neighbor to break just civil laws willfully. Jesus would never say the ends justify the means. Never.

There is most definitely a need for a wall. Does Father not care about the opioid crisis? Maybe it doesn't effect the ivory towers in the District of Columbia or its rich surrounding counties. But travel out into the real world, and there is an acute need to protect our border.

What's interesting about the Old Testament quotes is how the State of Israel completely disregards them. Israel has a wall and deports almost everyone. They do not hand out citizenship either. Perhaps this could be a topic at an Interfaith meeting.

Lastly, I think many of the Jesuits are not as involved in the real world as they might think. What happens in places like California and Illinois is that once "white people" become a minority, then the politics inevitably become more Marxist. Hispanics in America are drawn in by justice hucksters who are Marxist wolves dressed up as shepherds. All we have to do is look at the reality, not the theory. Places like California today are the most HOSTILE of places to God, Jesus and his faith. The Democrat Party removed God from its platform. Places like CA are legalizing drugs, abortion is rampant and on demand. California has gripping and acute poverty with 130,000 homeless already. The anti-Catholic and anti-Christ elite live in rich enclaves while the rest of society is delivered into Marxism and class consciousness. The immigrants are also taught anti-white racism and race consciousness by the Marxists.

"Every white person in this country has ancestors who came here as refugees or immigrants. Many were fleeing political or religious persecution, but millions more came because America provided economic opportunities for themselves and their families. Today’s refugees and immigrants are coming for exactly the same reasons. But now the drawbridge is being pulled up by those whose immigrant ancestors arrived earlier."

Father, please google and read up on the Immigration Act of 1924. The USA was never a borderless and open country. The citizens of the country get to decide how to structure their society. Jesus never had one problem with this. Christ was concerned about individual SOULS and SALVATION, not collectivism and anti-white racism, so we'd best be concerned about thinking about what Jesus thought was most important, not what Marxists want.

ALFRED CHAVEZ
1 week 4 days ago

Ms. Burns dismisses OT quotes about how to treat a stranger by referring to current-day Israeli practice. Meaning what, Ms. Burns, that the Israeli government is the authority on how to interpret the Bible? What about the NT? "I was a stranger and you welcomed me" (MT 25:35). You know what happens to the folks who can't answer that question in the affirmative on that day, right?

And about those borders: Do you imagine that when God sees the world, he sees those borders? Not that being a country of laws is not important, but laws to be effective must be morally sound. Migration has been a fact of life for all of man's history. That the laws governing migration are necessary is indisputable, But those laws need to accommodate the natural movement of populations and assure that those laws are orderly and not exclusionary.

James Haraldson
1 week 4 days ago

Your last sentence reflect the very point made by those who do not want to be reduced to the caricature Reese's strawman argument makes. Even those who genuinely hold prejudicial attitudes towards some people in the world are not totally anti-immigration and do not need simplistic sanctimonious arguments about welcoming the stranger. Rational policies need to be established. Reckless out of control policies that ignore easy access by terrorists, drug gangs, and human traffickers are not acts of benevolence.

lynne miller
1 week 4 days ago

Thank you, Mr Chavez!

Susan Kelly
1 week 4 days ago

Touché, Ms. Burns. BTW in the 19th century immigrants were deported. Again, let's learn the facts of history, which isn't taught in school.

Richard Bell
1 week 4 days ago

If baby Jesus had been reared to his teens in Egypt, would he then have demanded that Pharaoh's officials give him permission to stay because his entering was in ignorance and he had dreams of a good life there, the only home he had known?

ALFRED CHAVEZ
1 week 4 days ago

Methinks you miss the point.

Richard Bell
1 week 4 days ago

Alfred,
Probably you are right.
Well, then, what is the point of asserting that the baby Jesus was a Dreamer?

ALFRED CHAVEZ
1 week 3 days ago

'Omnia exemplia claudicat' as the Latin expression goes, and yes, this one limps. Still though the point is that the Holy Family was forced by circumstances to live in a foreign land. Jesus (qua man) undoubtedly learned after he grew up of the extreme difficulties his foster father and mother had in their efforts to keep him alive and safe.

It's not that difficult then to see that Jesus well understood the plight of peoples uprooted by circumstances beyond their control. Jesus the student of scripture must have been fascinated to learn about his Jewish ancestors enslaved in Egypt and who dreamed of returning to the "land of milk and honey."

Richard Bell
1 week 3 days ago

Jesus understood first-hand (or, if he was very young in Egypt, second-hand) the plight of a refugee. I agree. But, would Jesus have wanted to stay in Egypt? Would he have insisted on living in Egypt? Not likely. Moreover, almost none of the infants brought here illegally by their parents were refugees fleeing the threat of death. So, the metaphor of baby Jesus a Dreamer is not limping but crippled; nay, the metaphor has no legs.

ALFRED CHAVEZ
1 week 4 days ago

I have a theory about all the immigration from south of our border.

I believe a merciful God is giving us another chance. This country has aborted, and often selfishly birth controlled its population to such an extent that our population is shrinking. So, God is now saying, "OK, USA, here's your chance to make up for all that. Free of charge--I am sending you a lot of people for you to feed, educate, and care for until they can make it on their own. I will bless you if you do your best to assimilate them."

Far from me to read God's mind, but maybe that's how He thinks. I imagine this because there's a similar situation described at Mt 21:33-43. Christ was speaking to the Jews about Himself of course. But if we don't see Christ in the faces of these immigrants and treat them accordingly, what do you suppose will happen to *us?*

Robert Lewis
1 week 4 days ago

Good point! Answer: what happened to the Germans in 1939.

lynne miller
1 week 4 days ago

Bravo, Father Reese! Our government is so broken by people whose philosophy is “I got mine, too bad for you!”

E.Patrick Mosman
1 week 3 days ago

Only in Pope Francis's and now Father Reese's imaginative comparative can one equate the Holy Family's travel to and relatively short stay in Egypt in the same category as the hundreds of thousands refugees today. The Pope failed to note that the Holy Family returned to Nazareth while Herod was still King without any problem. Further in Luke 2:22-40 the Presentation in the Temple gospel the Holy Family returned to Galilee without a short side-trip to Egypt.
Pope Francis and his political adivisors are totally misinformed either through a failure to study and understand the situations in the Middle East, Africa and the Americas or to rely on the leftist advisers when he offers advice to the world on the refugee problem.The Pope should be emphasizing that these refugees from the Middle East and Africa are fleeing from the internicine religious Sunni vs Shia warfare and homicidal Muslim hordes labeled,ISIS, Boko Haram, et al, targeting non-muslims, in particular Christians, that are devastating their homelands. The refugees from Mexico, Cuba and Central/South America are fleeing corrupt politicians/government officials and vicious drug lords. And where do these homeless want to go? They are heading to those countries whose socio-economic systems the Pope condemns as "bad, unjust" and even worse. The Pope should be lecturing the leaders of those countries to improve conditions so that their citizens do not have to leave instead of calling out those countries that he insists must absorb them.

Patrick Welsch
1 week 3 days ago

You failed to note that Pope Francis successfully noted the following passages that tell us the Holy Family stayed in Egypt until Herod was dead: Matthew 2:14-15 “When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod...”
Matthew 2:19-20 “Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.”

E.Patrick Mosman
1 week 3 days ago

Why are the two quotes from Matthew any more definitive than Luke 2:22-40 that made no mention of a flight into Egypt? See my comment on Herod below.

ALFRED CHAVEZ
1 week 3 days ago

The Pope didn't note that the Holy Family returned to Nazareth while Herod the Great was still king because he wasn't.

"He stayed there [in Egypt] until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Mt 2:15)

E.Patrick Mosman
1 week 3 days ago

Please note I did not mention Herod the Great as there is evidence that Herod the Great died between
4BC and IBC and that another Herod, his son Herod Antipas, was the King from before the birth of Jesus and at His death 33 years later.

Patrick Welsch
1 week 3 days ago

Did you mean he should speak out against corruption in South American countries like this?

Pope decries cancer of corruption in Latin America - Vatican Radio
Pope Francis wrote: “Corruption devastates lives by submerging them in the most extreme poverty. It’s a corruption which destroys entire populations by subjecting them to precariousness. It’s a corruption that, like a cancer, consumes the daily life of our people.”

E.Patrick Mosman
1 week 3 days ago

"religious persecution in letter to Middle Eastern Christians"
"Pope decries cancer of corruption in Latin America" via Vatican Radio
So the Pope is active by letter to the Catholic choir and by radio probably only to those who listen to Catholic radio broadcast. That is leadership?
Where is his condemnation of the corrupt leaders of the countries by name and excommunication for those of the Catholic faith who continue their corrupt/criminal activities? Where is his calling on the leading religious leaders of Islam by name to end their internecine wars, their support of terrorist organizations and their support of the teachings in the Koran that call for "death" to unbelievers.

E.Patrick Mosman
1 week 3 days ago

"Every white person in this country has ancestors who came here as refugees or immigrants."
Unfortunately Father Reese reverts to this much used canard to justify illegal entry as actually America is a nation of legal immigrants who arrived here through government immigration locations, Ellis Island in New York for one. Immigration police patrolled the streets of New York with authority to ask individuals for their immigration papers and if they could not produce proof of legal entry they were arrested and deported. Most while while holding on to their homeland's customs, became Americans, learned English, voted legally, raised their children as Americans and insisted on a good education and many never returned to their country of origin. The Federal government's failure to enforce its own immigration laws and to secure the borders has completely shredded the ideal that the USA is a nation of laws by allowing and funding individuals and religions to aid and abet illegal(immigration) activities.

Maureen O’Brien
1 week 3 days ago

This is a seriously flawed article that can result in more hostility and could encourage more votes for DT and the lawmakers who think like him. No, Jesus was not a “dreamer”. Saint Joseph was scrupulous in obeying the law - so was Jesus himself.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 week 3 days ago

Father Reese
I can sympathize with the plight of Deamers but I find your argument on what a Christian must hold to be fundamentally specious.
You state that the President
"holds the Dreamers hostage for ransom $18 billion to pay for his Wall along the Mexican border. Legislation to protect the Dreamers is urgently needed; a wall is not".

Contrary to your assertion I as a Christian can hold that both Dreamer legislation AND a Wall is needed. And such a position is logical and consistent with the facts that generated/generate the Dreamer controversy.
It is conveniently myopic of you to ignore that the Dreamers are only here because of a lack of border enforcement; and that a Wall may indeed minimize the possibility of future in which minors are illegally brought across the border to create yet another Dreamer crisis.
If I were to adopt your language it would be that "Dreamer legislation is being held hostage to minimize the chance of future Dreamer crises"

I also note that the Dreamer problem has been with us for over 20 years and yet until The DACA Executive Order was passed in 2012 there was no great political drama playing out about their immediate deportation. Indeed Father Reese, perhaps you could point out a column written by you prior to 2012 pointing out that it was a Christian moral imperative to immediately pass legislation to protect the Dreamers. Judging by your CV at America Magazine you had plenty of opportunities to write, or sponsor as the Editor, a series of such articles.

Sandi Sinor
1 week 3 days ago

Thank you Fr. Reese for continuing to remind people - people who call themselves christian, followers of Christ - what being christian really means. Many will continue to attack you. So we must pray that the words of Christ will someday reach them, and that they will be converted.

Love one another, as I have loved you.

ALFRED CHAVEZ
1 week 3 days ago

Well said, Sandi. Oremus.

Sam Flenner
1 week 2 days ago

Gospel Matthew 11:20-24
Jesus began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.
‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgement day as with you.’

Too many followers of Islam have clearly refused to assimilated into our culture. Jesus does not say we are required to be suicidal with those who reject Jesus. At least Jesus reserves
punishment to "judgement day." The Koran tells followers of Muhammad to kill us "infidels."

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