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Faith: 'Who do you say that I am?'

Twenty of us returned last Friday from a journey to Kenya. We joined a small community in the west central part of the country. Children, parents, young adults and priests all shared in a week of fellowship, prayer, learning and growing together.

Our experience with the people of Moto Hope was true to their name - it instilled a new hope in our hearts.

As we prepared for the journey many people asked the common question, "What are doing there?" Adjusting back to life here in the lakes area people are asking, "What did you do there?"

That is not the question we are after. We are interested in talking about the question, "Who did you encounter?"

It is a primary question to ask ourselves. Without the "Who," the "What" has no meaning. It is empty.

Is it not true that so often we focus on the "what" and miss the "who" that is the person in front of us? We get caught up, it seems at times, in the what people can provide for me, what product is being produced, what can I do, what do I "need" to do, what can we provide?

These are good and important, but it is not at the heart of the matter.

Jesus asked his disciples in the Gospels, "Who do you say that I am?"

He was bringing them to the heart of the matter. At the core it is not about what he can do for me. Rather it about who he is for and with me, and who I am for and with him, and even more so who we are for and with him.

Are we willing to focus on the "who" first and foremost? Can we put aside the "what" for a while and just be with people? Do we always have to be producing?

A journey halfway around the world to a new place, a new culture, a new group of people helps put this in perspective, and gives the mind and heart a fresh look. But that fresh look and perspective can happen right here too.

Are you willing to step out of the need to produce and "get something done?" Are you able to refocus on the "who," the person in front of you?

Have the heart to heart this summer with your loved ones. Look eye to eye and be together. Share in ideas, insights, reflections. You might find that in the human connection much more important "things" get "done."

This is at least where I am at today after looking eye to eye with some beautiful people a long ways away.

May God bless you and may Jesus Christ be praised.