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Showing posts from June, 2014

Joining the Poor on the Road to God

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A Maryknoll priest spoke recently about the hospitality of his neighbors in the communities he serves, noting that when he visits people's homes, they are always quick to offer him gifts, such as food, that they cannot really afford to give away.  He says they will even borrow items from neighbors just to have something to offer a guest. He compared this to his own cultural tendency to keep for himself. As an example, he mentioned receiving a box of candy bars in the mail, which he promptly hid in his home.

I, too, struggle with my attachments to the things that I "own." My family is continually trying to simplify our lives and find contentment with what we have, but we can't help but run up against our limitations. "Well, we NEED a house that is big enough for x, y, and z." "With our schedules, we NEED two cars." Furthermore, the tension between how much of our earnings, our belongings, and our time that we give to others vs. how much we keep fo…

How Can I Call Myself a Missionary?

Fr. Bob McCahill is one of those people that disorients our sense of discipleship.  Ordained a Maryknoll priest fifty years ago, he spent his first eleven years in the Philippines.  While there, he would hear year after year reports of tragedy from Bangladesh - floods, famines, war.  He felt God calling him to live and serve among the poor of that predominantly Muslim country.  And he answered that call.  For the past thirty-nine years he has lived as a missioner there, moving to a new town every three years, seeking out those most in need.  He lives among the people in huts that he builds himself; he serves without an agenda, seeking merely to love and heal the outcast as Jesus did.

During the past week, Fr. Bob has been visiting us in Seattle, and I have had the privilege of spending some time with him.  He calls these trips - about six weeks every three years - his "vacation," but in fact fills them with presentations on the people with whom he lives.  As he told me, his …