It seemed that Jesus never missed an opportunity to praise an outsider whether it be the faith of a Roman centurion (Romans 8:10), the prayer of a tax collector (Luke 18:9-14), the gratitude of a Samaritan leper (Luke 17:11-19), or the courage and generosity of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).
No doubt, if Jesus were among us today, he would continue to challenge our prejudices by telling stories wherein the heroes were outsiders.
Who would be the outsiders in Jesus’ stories today? No doubt he would tell us at least one story in which an illegal immigrant would be the featured character. Such a story would be easy to find. One happened just a few days ago.
A 45 year old woman was killed in a car wreck on Thanksgiving Day. She had taken her 9 year old son camping just north of the Mexican border. The boy’s father had died 2 months earlier. The woman lost control of her vehicle on a U.S. Forest Service road. Her van vaulted into a canyon and landed 300 feet from the road. She did not die immediately, but she was pinned in the vehicle. The boy, unhurt but disoriented, crawled out to get help and was found about two hours later by Jesus Manuel Cordova, 26. Unable to pull the mother out, he comforted the boy while they waited for help. The woman died a short time later.
Here is the account as reported in an Associated Press article with information given by Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada:
"He stayed with him, told him that everything was going to be all right," Estrada said.
As temperatures dropped, he gave him a jacket, built a bonfire and stayed with him until about 8 a.m. Friday, when hunters passed by and called authorities, Estrada said. The boy was flown to University Medical Center in Tucson as a precaution but appeared unhurt.
"We suspect that they communicated somehow, but we don't know if he knows Spanish or if the gentleman knew English," Estrada said of the boy.
"For a 9-year-old it has to be completely traumatic, being out there alone with his mother dead," Estrada said. "Fortunately for the kid, (Cordova) was there. That was his angel."
Cordova was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents, who were the first to respond to the call for help. He had been trying to walk into the U.S. when he came across the boy...
Cordova likely saved the boy, Estrada said, and his actions should remind people not to quickly characterize illegal immigrants as criminals.
No doubt, Jesus is proud that Mr. Cordova bears his name.
©2007 C. David Hess