A Christian Activist's Reflection on Deirdre Cornell's Jesus Was a Migrant
Peter HSU

As a migrant for many years, and a Christian social activist for those people at the margins of society, I was drawn to this book by Deirdre Cornell because the themes resonated with me: deep spirituality of a mutual blessing, a common humanity, and the need for a long term view for social transformation which requires self-awareness through reflection and deliberate self-care.This book is a personal reflection on migrant journey as a Maryknoll lay missioner, where she shares her critical praxis through the lens of heartbreak, as well as the joyful experience of ministering to migrants over a twelve-year period. How do we stay tender when we come face to face with injustice and greed? How do we become sensitive to our own fragile inner life, and how do we extend pastoral care while processing human hurt? Cornell proposes that we do this by allowing liturgical practices to create release from our obsession with work. She reminds us that we are not the "hero", but rather God is working through human vessels. The ministry to migrants is notunidirectional, but, rather, a mutual blessing. Times of personal reflection (including our family history) help us to be more empathetic and compassionate. In our journey with migrants there is great power in lament, such as we see in the Lament Psalms;these provide validation that the journey leads to wholeness.Articulating our experiences, naming and grieving over injustice, loss, and pain will help us arrive at genuine commitment and renewed hope.
Human mobility matters greatly to God.Jesus chose to live in the Exodus in order to rescue us from exile.Mission is made possible through a migrant church because in the leaving and crossing of geographical and social boundaries new faith communities are formed.As we let people experience God through Christ's solidarity with them, there can be a hopeful ending. Intense spiritual growth and new life often occur when feelings of neglect and loneliness are channeled positively to God. Actually, migrants canbe "our prophets" because theyshow the extent of the brokenness in our society. As we learn from their experiences our hospitality, ministry, and advocacy will be shaped. We will encounter God as we boldly dare to enter the margins of society, look into individual faces and really listen. The process of transformation is a work of grace over time, and God uses willing vessels who are deeply blessed in the process.