This past Monday, my identity was challenged. I moved through the Atlanta airport, repeatedly presenting passport and boarding pass through several checkpoints, and going through security screenings to prove I was who I said I was and that I was no threat. I boarded a plane, after again presenting identity credentials, and landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Before entering a city filled with people that do not look like me, I had to again present my identity and convince security agents that my business in this place was unthreatening. After clearing customs and claiming our bags, once again proving who we were and that our luggage was in fact ours, we were set loose in the city. Upon exiting the terminal, my traveling companions and I were met with smiling, familiar faces, loving embraces, and were reunited with friends. They did not need to check our passports. They did not question who we were or the purpose of our visit.

            I rode with Pere Goursse+, the priest at St. Marc’s,...

Today we gather and celebrate a most sacred day ... Mother’s Day! I am well aware that Mother’s Day is not actually a Church holy day. Given the patience, grace, and love involved in motherhood, perhaps it should be. Two mothers of teenage girls were chatting. One says, “My daughter doesn’t tell me anything. I’m a nervous wreck!” The other mother says, “My daughter tells me everything, and I’m a nervous wreck!”

            Mother’s offer a selfless love, often without reward, and frequently testing their dignity and humility. One mother was having a hectic day. Her small son, who had been playing outside, came in with his pants torn. She ordered, “You go right inside, remove those pants, and start mending them yourself.” Some time later, she went inside to see how he was getting along. The torn pants were lying across the chair, and the door to the cellar, usually kept closed, was standing wide open. She called down the stairs loudly and...

We live in a world of boundaries and barriers. Most of them are of our own making. We fence in our yards, intending to keep others out, while also imprisoning ourselves. We draw property lines, county lines, and state lines. We create borders that invariably give rise to border disputes. We identify certain people, as living on the other side of the tracks. These boundaries create an identity for those within, and those outside. Our boundaries and barriers separate and distinguish us from them.

            Within our communities we create barriers of our thinking and action, that stunt discernment, growth, and change. The greatest barriers in the life and work of the Church usually start with the phrase, “We’ve always done it that way,” or “we’ve never done it that way before,” or perhaps the most stifling, “We tried that once and it didn’t work.”

            We encounter Peter in Acts preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ to a group of...

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