I had a different type of Eucharistic Adoration tonight. Our Archbishop is sponsoring a week-long around the clock Eucharistic adoration at the cathedral praying for just and compassionate immigration laws. This was prompted by a bill that passed the US House of Representatives, and many that are pending at the state level that are enforcement-only bills and don't address any systemic problems or provide a way for immigrants that are now in the country to regularize their status. The Eucharistic Adoration I'm used to is mostly silent or with solemn prayers. When I got to the church I walked into a setting that had guitar players, people pouring their hearts out to Jesus in very expressive and passionate ways, people on their knees on the hard floor, and lots of kids playing in the back. It was what you would think of in terms of a gathering of Hispanics at church.
However, what struck me was the unified sense of pain and hope for God's mercy. There was a solidarity, a sense of unity in pain, that I had not felt before. We all prayed many psalms together and many prayers of mercy and help that had an added feeling of reality. The people gathered in church had actually spent time walking through the desert with not enough to eat and drink and with their rosaries in their hands. They had actually been hungry, naked, and in trouble. They had actually faced life threatening dangers. They had wondered into the desert leaving family and everything familiar to them behind so that they could eat and support their families back at home.
Many of the psalms were written expressing the agony and hope of a people on the move, a people on exile, a people suffering. Here I was in a room full of people on the move and threatened. The psalms became real, not just simply metaphors. For once, I got a sense of what it must have been like for the Jews to be in Egypt or Babylon. My heart was tender and yet, grateful to have experienced this moment of compassion and solidarity. Their cries to Jesus were real and impacting.
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