attempt to build some friendships and familiarity with a part of the Parish that I often do not get to see. I have several friends who come to daily Mass or who are involved in other ministries whose native tongue is Spanish and it was good to see them and spend time with them in worship. I did feel a little out of place though.
Why? Probably ego? Pride? Unfamiliarity? It was good for me though, that is for sure. I kept hearing this one word though, one I recognized from my studies and from preparing before hand. "Misericordia." Mercy. Kindness. I heard it in the antiphon of the Psalm. I heard it in the singing. I heard it in the readings. I heard it Father Dorado's homily. (Most of which I was lost in, but I did understand parts of it!)
At the end a friend of mine, Ignatio, grabbed my hand and welcomed me. Made sure to encourage me and talked about his experience of going to daily Mass in English. He talked about how he at first did not understand much, but now after a few years, really has begun to understand it well enough to feel comfortable. Here was a man willing to put his ego to the side. A man willing to go where he was uncomfortable, where he didn't know many, but persisted through those feelings in order to learn enough of a language to help those of us who did not know his own to be able to experience one another in the body of Christ.
There are those out there who will tell you, "You are not an American if you don't speak English." "I refuse to learn another language!" "Why the hell should I have to press 1 to get English? This is America!" To that I say rubbish. Today's gospel calls out to us to put ourselves to the side and to instead humble ourselves to be servants. Servants don't make those they are serving learn their language, rather they humble themselves and put forth the effort to learn the language themselves. "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all."
Think about this for just a moment. The God of the universe is so far beyond us that it would be like comparing a human to a worm. This God of ours humbled himself so much that he condescended into one of us, becoming one of us in every way, except sin. He learnt our language. He took on our ways. He didn't expect us to suddenly learn to speak God's tongue. How much more so should we be willing to approach our brothers as if they were Christ himself? Learning a language is the least we can do. Learning who they are, where they are from, their name; those are other steps we should take. Their customs, their cultures, their families. They are part of us. We are one body. There aren't 500,000 bodies of Christ.. only one.
So go out into the world. Serve your brothers and sisters. Learn to speak to them. More importantly learn to listen and understand them. Try to learn their names. Their families. Their interests. Let them know how important they are to you. How much you love them. Don't expect anything in return. Just offer yourself for them, as Christ offered himself to us. Then we can cry out together, with our brothers and sisters, in all tongues: "Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you."
His servant and yours,