A reflection on today’s lectionary gospel lesson, Luke 10.25-37.
A family, a man, a woman, and two children, were being persecuted in their nation because they would not tow the party line or pay the demands of the overlords, or produce drugs on their meager land holding. How could they afford the oppression when they struggled to even put food on their table? They were, on many occasions beaten, had their belongings stolen, and even though they worked hard, had no money to even buy food, or even maintain a small garden to feed their family. In the country they live and adore, they were outcast. Seeing no other option, they put what was left of their lives on their backs and fled to a neighboring country, hoping to be able to start again, work hard, be a productive family and contribute to the economy and earn enough to eat and have a dry and safe place to sleep at night.
After several months of walking on foot, they finally made their destination. It was not an easy trip. But they crossed a river, which signaled the near end to their journey. Upon crossing the river safely, they took a moment to kneel and pray, to give thanks to God for their safe journey. They were quickly apprehend by police, using significant force. The mother was taken from her children, the father was taken from his children, and the children were placed in holding cells all well away from each other.
After the adult’s statements, and request, no, they begged, for mercy, the captain of the guard denied their request for asylum. The sergeant on duty put them all in cages, for their own protection. They were given foil blankets, forced to share toilets with others in the same status, not given any basic hygiene materials, and made to sleep on the hard, cold, concrete floors.
The president of the nation directed the vice-president to go and see. The president did not care to see for himself. The vice president did and as he did, stood with a cold expression while he watched the people suffer behind chain fences. Those who served under these two, followed the directions, and gave no relief, no aid, but let everyone continue their duties as assigned.
Meanwhile, people along the river set out bottles of water, and sometimes food for those in desperate need. “Who is my neighbor?” When found, these oasis’s were destroyed by the people in charge.
The once stranger in a strange land, who he and his family fled from Bethlehem to Egypt responded, “What you do to the least among you, you do to me.” Which side of history do you want to be on? Do you want to be on the side of the authorities, or the side of the outcast? I for one choose the side of the outcast.