"In this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another."

Thursday, 2/4/16

Jesus, in sending out his disciples, told them to bring no money or food. Now, he wasn’t asking them to practice the virtue of poverty. No, he was telling them to throw themselves on the hospitality of the people they visit. Such friendliness meant so much to him that he once said, “In this will all know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another. “

The Second Vatican Council, as it was coming to an end back in 1965, was asking us to be friendly with the other Christian Churches. I was over in Korea, as secretary to a young Bishop Stewart back then. As a good Irish Catholic, Bishop Stewart had never associated with Protestants. Still, in obedience to Rome, he kept going to meetings with the ministers of the other religions in our city; and  he was highly irritated by the way that, instead of talking about religious teachings, all they ever talked about was Fellowship.

One day, Bishop Stewart, coming back from an ecumenical meeting, told me, “Sully, from now on you will have to go instead of me. They have gone and made a verb out of it. From now on we will be ‘fellowshipping,’ and I just can’t take it.”

Please put up with one more story. The hardest thing for us priests in visiting poor Korean villages was accepting their hospitality, especially when it involved food that we didn’t recognize. Father Connors, from another Korean town, always made an excuse for getting out of eating what he didn’t like. One that led to a funny incident.

He gave in when an old lady kept insisting that he couldn’t leave until he had at least eaten an egg.

After he gave in to that, the lady pulled an egg from deep folds of her dress; then, yanking a large hairpin from her topknot, she poked a hole in the egg, and gave it to Kevin to suck.

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