Imagine you were living a normal life in your country of origin. Suddenly, a major, catastrophic life event changes everything. You become estranged from your family and even from your friends and acquaintances. You lose your job and no company will ever employ you again. You lose your home, your money and all of your possessions. You have no one left to count on… you’re on your own.
On top of that, a group of malefactors is now after you. They are in pursuit of you and have their eyes on every alley, every street. They hate you and want to drag you to their lair, where they will inflict the worst torture imaginable on you.
Your only hope of salvation lies in escaping to the neighboring country. It is the richest nation in the universe, flowing with milk and honey. So you roam there, in search of asylum… and to build a new life there.
There is a problem, though. The country is surrounded by an insurmountable wall. There’s no way to sneak across, except by presenting yourself to an official port of entry and applying for asylum there. But the immigration laws for that country are very strict.
Once you reach the gate you are then subjected to a rigorous interview. There are two guards checking your background, to see if you fit their profile for an acceptable entry. It’s a very orderly country, filled with model-citizens… of course they don’t want any troublemakers there.
That’s when despair starts to get its hold on you. You present them document after document, answer question after question, but gaps in your story begin to emerge. You start to realize that, no matter how much you try, you will always fall short of this country’s laws. They have an admission standard you are simply unable to meet.
One of the guards keeps accusing you: you broke the law. Just by daring to cross the border of this glorious nation, you have broken the law. The law is the law. No “buts.” If you wanted to enter this country, you should’ve followed the laws in your own country.
You tremble. If they do not approve your request for asylum, you’re doomed. You will be sent back, where you will certainly be captured by the gang of villains. If that happens, you might as well abandon all hope.
The other guard, on the other hand, seems to be more understanding. He knows that the country’s immigration laws are very rigid, but the nation’s leader has a policy of not uniformly enforcing those laws, but rather examining every claimant and granting amnesty on a case-by-case basis. This guard will submit your file to his superiors and notify you when the answer comes.
Now, as you wait for the answer, let me ask you to ponder what I have been talking about until now.
Who is the person asking for asylum? A refugee? An immigrant? Or is this the soul of a person who has died?
Who are the malefactors? Are they a gang? A drug cartel? The mafia? Or are they Satan and his minions?
What is this wealthy country where honey and milk flow? Is it an European country from the Schengen Area? The United States of America? Or is this Heaven and the pearly gates?
Who are those guards? Some officers from border control? Or the Old and the New Testament?
Who is this leader? Viktor Orbán? Angela Merkel? Donald Trump? Or Jesus Christ?
And what is this law? A man-made law for a man-made border? Or God’s law? Are you able to uphold it?
The answer comes. The guard says: “The leader has spoken. You will be judged according to what you did to the least of your brethren back in your original country. You will be judged with the same rule as that with which you judged others. And you will be judged according to the love and mercy you’ve shown, for love is the greatest law there is and mercy triumphs over judgment.”
It’s fair. This country, just like any other, has the right to protect its borders. But what will happen to this immigrant soul now? Well, I can’t give you the answer… this is something that everyone must decide by him/herself. However, before you decide, ask yourself: Is there any earthly reason worth risking entry into our true homeland?
[Photo credits: AFT / Getty Images]
Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.