Losing Weight

Reflecting on Mission
August 2, 2010

But He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are. Philippians 2:7

I recall the words of a neighbor a few weeks after I arrived in Condevilla, a barrio on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. I had recently moved in to live with a family and was trying to relate as a friend and neighbor as well as a resident priest. He said to me in the course of the conversation, “Padre, you are a man of weight in this barrio.” He was referring, of course, to the presumed cultural superiority and economic clout that my North American identity gave to me. I had to spend the next two years or so “losing weight.”

By emptying himself of his being God, Christ commits Himself to a radical way of mission relationships. His self-emptying was the doorway to mission. As a result, He could do mission with empty hands. He could relate to people as brother, servant, pastor, prophet. With empty hands, aware of our vulnerabilities, frailties and fears, we too reach out in mission.

Excerpted from Reflecting on Mission, St. Columbans, Ireland.