“What gives you hope? What gives you strength?” we asked a man who runs a shelter for migrants at the Guatemalan border. He looked down and smiled, and he paused for a few seconds. Then he paraphrased scripture.
Ya es tarde, casi la noche. Quédate con nosotros.
It’s late, almost evening. Stay with us, the two asked Jesus on the road to Emmaus. And when Jesus stayed and broke bread with them, their eyes were open, and they recognized him.
“It is a spiritual conviction,” the man said, “that gives me hope.”
As we crossed another border, into Guatemala, we have traveled more than 2,500 miles in four days, on plane, bus and foot. As we walked across the bridge between Chiapas and Guatemala, looking to the right and left, I saw migrants crossing the river by foot, raft, or even bicycle. Migrants traveling to the United States to attempt dangerous illegal crossings take weeks to travel the distance, and often hop a train called la Bestia (the Beast) that amputated the limbs of many we saw in shelters today.
Many in our group of travelers, including me, named a reason for our trip as finding “the root causes” of migration, as though migration is a problem to be solved. But it is the barriers to migration—the injustices, the evils, the walls and the wastelands—that must be solved.
What the aid workers and migrants we met today taught me is that, like Jesus and his friends on the way to Emmaus, we humans are created to be migrants. And in the faces of migrants, we find God.
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