30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have. (Luke 10:30-35)
We read this passage together by asking how this biblical text speaks to us now, in the context of our current immigration crisis and national deportation policies.
A young man from South America said: I am disturbed by the fact that the man who was attacked in this parable has no identification. He is not given a name, and does not belong to any of the groups identified in the text. The Political and Religious associations (priest and Levites) do not see him with any value; they just go straight past him. I think that he is not only invisible to the larger society, but that he also feels legally unprotected, without social, civil or religious privileges. It disturbs Me that our American society is so obsessed with protecting our own privileges and individual rights, which pushes us to avoid sympathizing and interact with “the other” who is at a disadvantage and suffering. Because this “other” also seems to be putting our own comfort at danger.
A young woman from Central America said: I am struck by the Samaritan that takes radical action, because without hesitation, he provides total accompaniment to this unidentified person who is dying and vulnerable. I think we live in a very fast-paced society; time is never enough; we expect instantaneous results; We can sympathize and help the needy, but only if it is convenient and if it can be done quickly. It strikes me that the Samaritan is not a part of the dominant society of Israel or Rome, but is also someone who struggles to maintain his own livelihood; he has learned to survive in the margins of Jerusalem and Rome. This Samaritan has fewer resources than those of the dominant society, yet he shares his resources to save and heal a dying stranger on the road, who could have been a Jewish man. And not only that. He makes sure that the injured man is healed completely.
Finally a young Latina from the United States said with all sincerity: It is hard for me to relate to the so-called “good” Samaritan in our American society. We are taught not to talk to strangers, so this scene at the personal or societal level looks so countercultural to me. I do not want to be cynical but a lot of what we do here in our country has a double motive, regardless of who we are: politicians, entrepreneurs or Christian leaders. I am sure there are good Samaritans but they are no the majority.
We close this gathering, praying that God would make us “good Americans.”
The current situation with Dreamers (DACA) presents an opportunity to measure American values in various realms: social, cultural, political and Christian. We are being measured and also judged by the Gospel of righteousness, compassion and kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ. One way to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan in our time and context could be as follows
A family was traveling to the United States from the south, and they landed at the hands of __________. They stripped them of their clothes, beat them and went away, leaving them half dead. Shortly after, ______ happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the family, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, _______, when he came to the place and saw them, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the family was; and when he saw them, he took pity on them. 34 He went to each one and bandaged their wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the them on his own donkey, brought them to an inn and took care of them. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after them,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.
Which blank will we fill with our names?
The dreamers are travelers who are caught in a broken system that steals their clothes, beats them, abandons them and leaves them dead. Dreams, however, are the language of “hope.” Dreams have no borders or documents because they are rooted in the hope of a better life. Only those who have hope can dream, and only those who dream can dare to do what their mothers, fathers, uncles, grandmothers, brothers have done: make the necessary sacrifices and long for a better life for the Dreamers; the kind of life that they did not have.
Dreams are also the language of the “Other America.” Therefore, there is Another American Dream:
It is the Other American dream that Martin Luther King Jr. expressed as well when he said he “refuses to believe that the Bank of justice is bankrupt. He refuses to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation,” the nation that our fathers and mothers so dearly believed in; the nation in which our fathers and mothers have worked tirelessly. As Dr. King said, “Today we are here again in front of the American social Justice Bank to cash this check.”
Dreamers, don’t give up! Don’t stop dreaming. Many of us are with you, dreaming and fighting for that OTHER American dream. We dream that the words of Cesar Chavez awakens our consciences: Fellow citizens of all ethnicities; public servants, and to the American Church. Remember that “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore”
So filled with courage and hope, I invite you to stand in Solidarity. Educators, politicians, businesspeople, and anyone who believes in the justice and compassion of God. I ask you to join the fight in favor of the Dreamers : Support them, stand with them, lift them up, encourage them … Let’s walk with them on the their journey of Dreams, as good Americans.
And I also reach out to those who have the power and mandate to establish the laws of this country. I lift up now the voice of a prophet and a martyr:
We beg you,
We plead you,
WE DEMAND in the name of God,
Cease the persecution of our fathers and mothers, and of our sons and daughters!!
Oscar García-Johnson, PhD
Associate Dean & Associate Professor of Theology And Latinx Studies
Octubre 04, 2017