By Fr. Guillermo Trevino
I am borrowing an idea that Father Joseph Sia did a year ago. He challenged his parishioners to go to Mass at a different time. It doesn’t have to be all the time, but going to Mass at a different time gives us an opportunity to meet a different group of people. When we meet a different group of people, we realize they are children of God just like you and me. If one of the other Masses is in another language, you are extremely blessed. I challenge you to go to that Mass one time. “But, Father, I will not get anything out of it,” you might protest.
That is not true. I have a homeless man who comes every Sunday to the Spanish Mass. He does not understand Spanish but he sees the joy in the people and in me celebrating the Mass. For whatever struggles he has in life, he comes and turns to the liturgy. At Mass, he and many parishioners give their struggles to God.
To attend a Mass different than one’s own is to see the universal church. People from all walks of life coming together to worship. More importantly, the stranger is no longer seen as a stranger but as a brother and sister in Christ. We are called to do more when we get to know someone. We can no longer hide from our insecurities. The result is a beautiful relationship, if we trust in the Lord.
For example, my mother does not speak English. One of my best friends is Father Kevin Anstey. His mother does not speak Spanish. Yet, when our mothers see each other they always embrace, and as I translate they finish each other’s sentences. I remember at Fr. Kevin’s diaconate ordination my mother said, “This is such a great place…” and Fr. Kevin’s mother said, “Yes, to raise a family.” How did they know that? I feel it’s because they were open to each other and saw Christ in each other.
With the recent events in the news and the topic of racism at the forefront, I feel the solution is to get out of one’s comfort zone. Get to know someone different; they are usually some of the most beautiful people you will ever meet. Furthermore, at the suggestion of Fr. Sia, go to another Mass, attend a cultural event and be amazed at the beauty of one another. I promise you, your presence and love will do so much for the other. In my opinion, it is what we desperately need at this time.
(Fr. Guillermo Trevino serves at St. Alphonsus and St. Mary parishes in Davenport and St. Peter Parish in Buffalo.)