I was inspired, today, by Nancy Dallavalle’s reflection, “Missing the Messenger” (Give Us This Day, 4/ 27), and by Pope Francis’ invitation to “gaze on migrants and refugees” (Journey, spring 2019).
First, Nancy! Her message is basically that our invitation to share the Good News with others may be difficult because we see it as only a one-way communication: “I have something wonderful to tell you!” How often does a preacher, evangelist, teacher check to see that the message is actually heard? And, if it is not heard, what’s wrong? Have we forgotten or are we incapable of admitting that a different evangelizer, teacher, preacher might have better skills and/or evidence at sharing the Good News…so that it really is GOOD NEWS?
Or might we need to listen to the listener who surely has something to offer in this dynamic exchange? How does my listener get my attention? Or do I miss the other messenger? “Even today, Christ stands before us in many guises and we brush them aside” (Nancy Dallavalle).
Attention! That is what Pope Francis suggests over and over in his writings and teachings, e.g. “When we turn our gaze,” he writes, “to migrants and refugees, we discover that they, too, are Messengers. They do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them.”
Indeed, Christ stands before us in many guises and we brush them aside!
Can we agree with Nancy and Pope Francis to NOT MISS one another?
Renée Domeier, OSB