Today we are standing up for those who won’t be sharing Thanksgiving dinner with their families and loved ones — those who are suffering because of our broken immigration system.
In the Jewish and Christian traditions, fasting is a spiritual sign of penance and a way for us to show our solidarity with those in need. Fasting is an outward sign of interior conversion — a conversion of our heart.
And that’s what we need in our country today. We need a conversion of hearts.
Everyone knows our immigration system is broken. But our leaders don’t seem to feel enough urgency to fix it.
So we offer our fasting today as a prayer — in the hopes of moving the hearts of our national leaders in Washington.
Immigration reform can’t wait. We can’t let another year slip away, doing nothing.
Millions of our brothers and sisters are suffering — and they have been for years now. People are dying in the deserts outside our border. Millions of workers are living without rights.
As a pastor, I’m most worried about the children and families caught up in our broken system.
In the last four years alone we’ve deported nearly 2 million people. One-in-every-four is being taken away from their families. These aren’t statistics. These are people. These are kids left without a mom or a dad. These are parents who may not see their children again for years.
We can’t remain indifferent to so much suffering. And we can’t let our leaders avoid the issue for another year.
We need immigration reform now.
We can do it. But we need conversion. We need to change our hearts. We need to feel responsible. We need to care for one another.
What we are doing here today is very little. We know that. But we do it with love — love for God and love for those he loves, the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.
Our little acts of acts of sacrifice and self-denial have great spiritual power. So we are inviting everyone to fast and pray for immigration reform. Let us share our bread with the hungry. And let us make our voices heard for those who have no one to speak for them.
So that’s our prayer today. And we make our prayer in this beautiful chapel, in the sight of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is the Mother of Jesus — and the Mother of all of us.
We ask her protection for all her children who are forced to live at the margins of this great country.
Friends, as we give thanks to God this week with our families, let’s pray for all those who can’t be together on this holiday. Let’s pray for a new spirit of welcoming and generosity — so that everyone can join us in the promise of America.