Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I have spent a remarkable week here in Quito, Ecuador, learning with other bishops what it means to do ministry in this place. There has been controversy and turmoil in this diocese and there are several sides in a very public battle. And yet in the midst of all of that we had witnessed an amazing amount of compassion and love, an enormous measure of love and forgiveness. Despite all that the church leadership faces, including lack of funds and vocal factions, we knew a welcome and love that was remarkable, tender and authentic.
Jesus reminded the disciples that as his followers we are expected to love and forgive, despite what people might say or do, despite their attempts to hurt us, take away our livelihoods, or destroy what we have carefully built up. All that we have is from God, and all the controversy and hurt we might face cannot be obliterated by any human action. Our call and our gifts are from God. And God promises to be with us, even when we feel most isolated, bent down and destroyed.
As we travel homeward early this morning, I pray that I might live the example of the people encountered here. May I be ready to love and forgive. May my lips always be ready to pray, and may I always be grateful for the gift of brothers and sisters of faith, companions on the way.