Today was our first Mass in Mexico. And during this Mass I was reminded exactly why I started this “Sunday Reflections” post to begin with and was impressed by my own foresight!
We’re staying with a host family for this first month and had asked the couple if they knew what time Mass was on Sunday. The answer was “6, 7, 8, …all times!” Gotta love being Catholic! So we got ready and headed out mid-morning to make it to the city center and attend one of the hourly masses. We were apparently a little late, as the grounds keeper told us that Mass had “just started.” Well, in Mexico that means they’re already at the Gospel! So we stood in the back of the packed Cathedral and tried to focus, which was hard enough considering its in another language (about all I understood from the homily was “Tenemos dos ojos y una boca” and I could have told the priest!), but also because it was easy to look at all the adorable kids running back and forth from the baptismal font, blessing everything in sight! Next week we’ll definitely have to arrive earlier and sit up in the front.
So, onto the readings!
Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a
Luke 14:, 7-14
I found the gospel this week particularly insightful given our situation here in Mexico. I can’t help but realize in the few short days we’ve been here that we are among the wealthiest, especially compared to Mexican standards. The grant my husband was awarded to study here is pretty selective and with it comes a certain amount of prestige. We’ve been wined and dined at some of the nicest hotels and restaurants around town over the past few days. We’ve met the ambassador and alumni and other grantees who’ll join our “network”, with the ultimate goal to serve each others career advancement. Colleagues in the US have given us contacts here to help us, who will also be part of our “network”, for no other reason than the fact we both know someone important back in the US. They help us now, but of course it is expected that once we’re able to, we’ll help them. After all, why would they bother to have us in their network if we couldn’t offer something in return? I guess that sounds pretty sinister, but I have no false impression that we would have been allowed into the Ambassador’s house if we didn’t know somebody special or was in someone’s network. I realize that we’re privileged and thus run in a privileged circle. And its hard not to realize as you’re driving around Mexico that not everyone is so privileged to have your “network”. Unfortunately, in the light of eternity, ultimately none of that matters.
“When you hold a lunch of a dinner, do not invite your friends of your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous”
I guess it all comes down to the fact that its a lot easier to be nice to people who will have a reason to be nice to you back. Like loving something that is easy to love vs. something that is harder to love. I hope that we’re able to remember this as we live in our little land of privilege over these next few months. I guess the idea of “paying it forward” is similar to what Jesus was talking about in this passage, where you do favors for people who will not have any ability to pay it back to you. I wonder if a network would be of any use if we all just did what Jesus suggested in this passage.
Ok, this is less of a “reflection” and more of a “rambling”. I blame the polka music in the background.
What did you get out of Mass today? Please leave a tidbit for me to consider!