This morning I offered Mass in Spanish for the first time. I had concelebrated at Spanish Masses a few times before, but had never been celebrant until today. I was fairly nervous this morning as I paged up my little Spanish travel ritual and reviewed the orations in my Spanish hand missal.
Though I'm very out of practice, I think my several years attending Mass in Spanish on Sundays carried me. It's all in the ear even if I'm not used to pronouncing the words myself, or looking at them in the missal. I also had a deacon to preach, for which I was grateful.
I've always felt a gratitude for hospitality in the Lord when I've had a chance to pray or work with communities of another culture or language, but today I felt it even more. To be received in the role of priest, a role that sets me both below the community as servant and at its head as presider, put a sharper point on the graciousness of the people's welcome to me. It's very humbling.
Maybe it was Br. Matt's reflection on itinerancy that had an effect on me, but I was also seeing the Mass as a moment in the homelessness of my own mendicant life. Pronouncing the Lord's words in a language-home not my own, I felt something deep about the itinerant, mendicant vocation: we are meant to live the truth that are home is not here, but in heaven. (Latin doesn't count as a foreign language in this regard; as Roman Catholics Latin is everyone's mother tongue and nobody's at the same time.)
As a Franciscan my home is everywhere, but also nowhere in this world. It's a gospel challenge, but it's also a gospel freedom.