Rev. Charles Hoffacker
In his book, Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America, Chris Hedges—journalist and son of a Presbyterian minister—recalls an experience he had in his twenties while staying in a United Nations camp for Guatemalan refugees in Honduras. These refugees had fled fighting in their homeland. Most of them had seen family members killed.
On the dreary January afternoon when Hedges arrived, the refugees were decorating tents and wooden warehouses with colored paper. These displaced peasants were celebrating the flight of the Holy Family to escape Herod’s order for children to be killed. That flight took Joseph, Mary, and Jesus from Judea to Egypt.
Hedges asked one of the peasants why this was an important day. “It was on this day that Christ became a refugee,” he replied.
Hedges knew the Bible passage by heart. He remembered hearing his father read it every year. “But until that moment, standing in a muddy refugee camp with a man who may not have been able to read, I did not understand it. This passage meant one thing to me and another to parents who had swept children into their arms and fled to escape death.”
What can we learn from marginalized people about the real meaning of the Bible?
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington