Now that I am back home in the good old USA I have had time to reflect on my trip. As I posted I saw some amazing things in India and had a great time. But looking back at it, what made it such a great time was the people. The welcoming people of India. I have never, in all my world travels, felt more welcomed to a country and community than in India.
We, the Catholic Church, can and should learn a lot from the people of India. I had the opportunity to take a bus tour in Goa. I was the only non-Indian on the buss, the only single person with no tour companion. I was in Goa at the end of the holiday session, so most of the foreigners have left already and now was the time that the India people traveled to Goa. So in a way I was intruding on there time. The trip guide did his best to offer me English translations of what he was saying, but at best it was broken English. The first site we visited was a beach, we had 15 minutes to look around and relax. For that side trip I was on my own, not to bad, got off the bus, looked around and returned. The next site was a Church, it was at this site that I was welcomed into a family. They asked me to join them and they would make sure I found my way back on time. I accepted for two reasons, 1) I was not sure were the guide said the bus would be at the end of the 45 minutes 2) It is always nicer to see sights with outers, someone to talk to and all.
It turned out that this family was extremely nice and made efforts to include me in conversations and even in our afternoon meal. They refused to allow me to pay for my lunch and insisted that I was there guest. At the end of the trip I had been welcomed into three different families and have been offered a place to say in two different cities in India. We traded email address and have already corresponded.
So what is the lesson? What can Catholics learn from this? We can learn how to be open and accepting, how to truly live out our claim that “All are welcomed”. We can learn to open our families to others and to treat them as guest. I know I have learned a great deal.
|Baroque Goa: The Architecture of Portuguese India|
|Proverbs 15:1“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”|