The pointing of the finger…
Reflections this week are by Michelina Nicotera-Taxiera
We have all experienced shame when someone points a finger at us. The gesture comes from a place of power and disdain. It implies that the person pointed at is “one of those people,” “inferior,” “foreign,” “other.” When someone asked Jesus who was their neighbor, He replied with the story of the good Samaritan. This story is about a “foreigner” who showed mercy. Jesus told his disciples that to be a good neighbor they must show mercy too. “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you.” Matt 7:12 God’s love is full of kindness and understanding. God’s love is expansive. God’s love builds bridges instead of walls and God expects our love to be the same.
The opposite of pointing a finger is Empathy. The Bible says “You shall not oppress a stranger, you know well how it feels to be a stranger since you were once strangers yourselves in the land of Egypt.” Ex. 23:9. When we are talking about immigration, learning about why a person must flee their country is the first step to empathy. In the words of the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, “Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.”
Watch Yolani’s story, below, and reflect on these questions:
- In what ways is her story similar to your own?
- In what ways is her story different?
Michelina Nicotera-Taxiera is an illustrator living in Tucson, AZ. She works as a volunteer with an asylum advocacy group called Save Asylum and also at a migrant welcome center, Casa Alitas. Last year she created the Way of Asylum which is a devotional Stations of the Cross. In these stations Jesus’ suffering is embodied in the people seeking asylum in our country. https://www.thewayofasylum.com/
Spend some time listening to Yolani’s story. She is an asylum seeker from Honduras who has been waiting a year for asylum at the Mexican border in Nogales. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBlq7ekPPC4