When I was a little boy in Nicaragua I remember “los borrachos”. These were men from the neighborhood who were drunk outside our door. My dad would come home from work and instead of kicking them out of the way, he’d give them work, paint the fence, clean the yard, talk to them, give them their “dignity”.
About 10 years ago, I was thinking of planting a new church in downtown Long Beach among the urban hip and the urban inner city poor. At the doorstep of the church I was looking at was a drunk. I stepped over him, thought of my dad, but kept walking feeling guilty.
Yesterday, together with 50-60 people, I was outside a GEO/ICE Immigration Detention Center praying, chanting, protesting and singing “Y Volver Volver” at the top of my lungs. Just a small step in my pursuit to be like my dad and to be like Jesus, being with the poor.
Social justice runs deep in my family. From my father, to my uncles and aunts, from those who joined the Sandinistas to my Catholic family who help the poor, I’ve seen faith and justice together my whole life. Dr. King said “Compassion is giving the beat-up man on the road to Jericho a drink, bandaging up his wounds, doing it every time. Justice is asking ‘Why do people get beat up on the road to Jericho”
I still have a long way to go, but my heart and now my hands and feet are moving closer to the drunks, immigrants, the poor among us. May God help me to continue to do so and to stand for those who can’t speak for themselves (or aren’t allowed to), for the poor in spirit whether locked in jail or the single mom in my own block.
My hope is that just as I saw my father and family love mercy, do justice and walk humbly with their God, our children see me doing the same.
Have a great day.
Into the future,