Father Francisco delivered the homily for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time at the 9:30 A.M. Mass at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada, on the first reading where it says, “וְגֵר לֹא-תוֹנֶה, וְלֹא תִלְחָצֶנּוּ: כִּי-גֵרִים הֱיִיתֶם, בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.” “The traveler in your land you will not treat overbearingly and you will not press upon him. You were strangers in the land of oppression.”
In relation to this, Father Francisco discussed the immigration issue, in particular as it relates to the Arizona Immigration law and other laws coming into place in the Deep South and elsewhere. Father Francisco alluded to the fact that almost all Americans, excluding Washoe, Paiute, and the other so-called Native American tribes, are all immigrants to this land. We have on our Lady in the Harbor in New York City, “Give me your tired, your poor, those yearning to breathe free.”
Father called to mind that our Eucharist comes ultimately from the words of Deuteronomy 5:1-6:
“Moses called all those who quarrel with God, and told them: Hear, You Who Quarrel with God, the customs and correct judicial precedents, which I speak in your ears this day, that you may learn them, and guard to do them. The Personal Name our Mighty Judge cut a Social Contract with us in Horeb. Not with our Fathers did he cut this Social Contract, but with us, each of us, standing here, alive, this day…” Remember, “I am the Personal Name your Mighty Judge, who brought thee out of the land of Oppression, out of the house of bondage. Thou will have no other gods before my face.”
Jewish Passover celebration looks at that part of the text which says, “Not to our fathers did he cut this Social Contract, but with us, each of us, standing here, alive, this day.” Passover Seder is the reliving of this event for the first time, each time they celebrate their escape from Oppression. Eucharist is the celebration of Jesus’ Last Supper, a celebration of Passover Seder. In the Eucharist, we relive for the first time, each time, Jesus Passion and resurrection.
The text continues, “You will remember that you were a servant in the land of Oppression, and the Personal Name your Mighty Judge brought you out thence by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; the Personal Name your Mighty Judge commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.”
Father Francisco pointed out that repeatedly in Deuteronomy and Exodus, in the prophets, and in the Gospels, the essence of Judeo-Christianity is concern for the less fortunate, in particular those who are not of our kind, who are not Catholic, not US Citizens, not Irish or German, Anglo Saxon, or Italian. Through our ancestors, we all know what oppression is. Therefore, when we see our neighbor oppressed we must act. This includes the oppression we see going on in states like Arizona with their wicked immigration laws.