REFLECTION ON ‘HOME’
It was not uncommon for my parents to greet visitors into our home with “mi casa es su casa” or “esta en tu casa”(you are in your own home). These words were more than a formal or perfunctory welcome as I learned growing up in the barrios of Boyle Heights of East Los Angeles. Friends and family often came to stay with us for long period of times. Sometimes they were visiting from Mexico and sometimes it was because times were hard and the living was far from easy. Whatever the reason mi casa es su casa was a way of life that offered a place of warmth, love, sharing and continuity. This way of life has been passed down for generations in communities like Humboldt Park, Pilsen and La Villita.
Unfortunately this way of life is very much in danger as families are forced out of their homes and into substandard housing farther and farther away from their roots. There is voracious appetite for gentrification that is swallowing up our barrios and ‘hoods in order to create a housing market that fewer and fewer working people can buy into. It is displacing long time residents and making them the alien in their own homelands. And the humanity of all is brought into question as neighbor is pitted against neighbor and mi casa is only mi casa.
This is more than an economic crisis. It is a spiritual and emotional crisis that threatens our relationships with one another as well as our relationship. The prophet Micah writes of God’s vision for humankind as one where “Each of them will sit under his vine And under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid, For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.(Micah 4:3-4)” Home is the place where creativity, knowledge, and love can thrive. Affordable housing means the difference between life and strife. How then will we, as people of God, assure that mi casa es tu casa does become an anachronism or another platitude?
Question for Reflection:
- What action could you take to align your vision with God’s vision of shalom so that we all may have a casa to call home?
- When have you experienced ‘mi casa es tu casa’?
- How will you ensure that ‘mi casa es tu casa’ is true in your home?
– Contributed by Rev. Liz Muñoz, Pastor of Nuestra Señora De Las Americas Episcopal Church, Chicago