It is true for people living and serving in their own communities, as it is for those who travel to distant countries – we must follow the example of Jesus, who came into the world as a child to lead us to live lives of service.
How we do this in the present time, must also take into account the present place we find ourselves. What works in one place, will not work in another. I was reflecting on the life and work of St. Francis Xavier who arrived in the Japanese port of Kagoshima in 1549. As the first Christian Missionary to Japan, St. Francis recognized that the way he had communicated in his home in Spain would need to recognize, acknowledge and listen to this new culture that would allow him to share the Good News.
For Mission Doctors preparing to serve both long and short-term, the issue of recognizing the unique challenges of working in another culture is always a large part of the formation, as is looking at the cultural bias we may carry being educated and raised in one part of the world to work and serve in another. Striving to recognize Christ in all their patients, regardless if at home or in a mission hospital allows the work of Mission Doctors to follow in Jesus call to Heal the Sick.
Pope Francis stresses in this video the importance of listening. May we all strive to listen as St. Benedict said: “Listen and attend with the ear of your heart.” When we listen to God, following the example of Jesus becomes that much more simple.