Rev. Chava Redonnet’s Reflection- Woman Priest of the Migrant Workers Shares For Sunday 1/12/14

Rev. Chava Redonnet, RC woman Priest reflects here on the tenderness of our loving God. Her illustration comes from a sad situation with a deportee. How sad it is that we treat our strangers and guests this way when we are asked not to break the bruised reed.  We also have some migrant workers who sometimes attend our Good Shepherd Church and some “second generation” families of migrant workers as well. Last week one of these asked help for a woman and her children after the deportation of her husband. There is no way she can pay her rent or sustain the family. Our Government simply causes dependency in addition to much pain and loss when heads of families are deported. John the Baptist asked that those who talk religion SHOW how they follow the law of God-the law of love and justice. Rev. Chava’s ministry is a beautiful example of following God’s law of love as Christ did.

We are always pleased to share her work with you,

Love and prayers,

Rev. Judy Lee, ARCWP 

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Dear friends,

This week we hear these beautiful words from Isaiah:

He shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth

That is both comfort for those of us who experience being “bruised reeds” –
which is most of us at some point in our lives! – and a model for the
church. How shall we be servants of God in the world? Not by arguing
endlessly, trying to convince others to believe as we do, but protecting
and encouraging those who are vulnerable, broken, their lights almost gone
out.  Encouraging life wherever we encounter it.

Some time ago on one of our visits to check in with the immigration folks
in Buffalo, one of the immigration men and I were talking about one of the
guys in our community who was having trouble complying with what was
expected of him, mostly because he would forget. “He’s kind of a lost
soul,” the immigration man said. “I think you care more about him than he
cares for himself!”

I think that’s a pretty good part of the church’s job description:
reminding people of their worth and dignity even when they’ve forgotten
they have it. A bruised reed we shall not break and a smoldering wick we
shall not quench… that’s  compassion and justice.

Toward the end of October I got a call from the roommate of the man I just
mentioned. He was in trouble with the law, and in jail. Could I help? Well,
no, there was nothing I could do because I could not find him in the
system.  In Buffalo, all they knew was that he was in jail and thus no
longer the responsibility of ISAP, the contractor that does the
Alternatives to Detention program. I called the roommate back and asked
that if our friend called him again, he’d pass on the message to call me.
No call. Finally in December I located him in the system. He was not in one
of the county jails as I’d thought (could have been Monroe, Genesee or
Orleans), but in the Detention Center.

So I sent him a card, told him I was praying for him, gave him my phone
number. About a week later I started getting strange phone messages with a
recorded woman’s voice speaking in Spanish. After several such calls I
finally figured out they were coming from the detention center, and after a
couple more, what I was supposed to do! And just in time, because he was
going to court two days later. You might remember this story from the
bulletin a few weeks ago. He went to court alone and asked for an extension
so he could come back with his lawyer, and then went back this week. I had
thought he would get bond and then need to figure out how to raise the
money to be bonded out, but instead, it seems the options are deportation
or voluntary departure. With voluntary departure a person has to pay their
own way out of the country, but they don’t have a deportation on their
record. Theoretically that means that they will be able to apply to come
here legally sometime in the future. Reality, for workers who are
considered unskilled, is that if it were that easy they wouldn’t have come
here without documents in the first place. He has said he would prefer
voluntary departure, and I will go to court next week to speak on his
behalf.

It says in the Talmud, “Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over
it and whispers, ‘Grow! Grow!’” It seems to me that it is part of the work
of the church to be those angels. A bruised reed we shall not break, and a
smoldering wick we shall not quench. Remember that, when your own wick is
smoldering.

Blessings and love to all, Chava

Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph’s House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620

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