In 1996, Independence Day hit the big screen as the newest thing in cinema to have the audience sitting at the edge of their seats, watching the destruction of the end of the world and humanities courage to save its existence. I’ll never forget the impact it had on my adolescent life. It was one of those movies I watched two or three times on the big screen because it blew my mind away.
Now in 2016, two decades later, I caught the sequel here in Mexico! With the same emotions of excitement running through my blood stream, I have taken a step back to take the movie’s message from a different angle.
Once again, humanity is at war, not with itself, but from another species that threatens its existence. What attracts me is seeing a human race that works together for its survival. It is not caught up by its borders, political ideals, or hunger for power — rather, for it’s survival, it’s freedom to exist.
So who is the alien? We can easily label the alien as those who do not live on the same side of the border as we do. We must turn to Luke 10:29-37, the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Beyond borders, our neighbor is the one in need, the vulnerable, the one seeking refugee. We must foster such a value in prayer and cherish a freedom rooted not in government but in Jesus Christ. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen once stated:
“Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1731)