SATURDAY, November 7 (Willibrord of Utrecht)

Matthew 14:22-36. Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him.

It was well past dark and bitterly cold on the runway that night in early 1978. Ice was everywhere. We were allowed to stay in our heated cars and vans as we awaited the arrival of eleven refugees our church was sponsoring from the killing fields of Cambodia.

When the plane arrived, out came five adults and six children wearing thin, pajama-like suits and flip-flops. In the bone-chilling cold we met each, and were greeted with the namasté–hands held together, thumbs at forehead, accompanied by a deep bow. This reverential greeting means, “I honor the Spirit that is in you.” I cannot tell you how undone, unworthy, that ritual made me feel. Feeble attempts at reciprocity were accompanied by giggles, but I soon truncated the ceremony by catching the youngest child from falling on the ice and carrying him to the heated car.

I took off my overcoat and my suit jacket to wrap around our guests. Others did likewise. There was no luggage to wait for, so we began the ride into town. Soon the silence became a cacophony of voices. An interpreter said the children were curious about my clerical collar. She told them I was a priest, “a holy one.” Little did they know they were the true holy ones.

PRAY for the Diocese of Utah (Province VIII, USA)

Ps 75, 76 * 23, 27; Ezra 9:1-15; Revelation 17:1-14

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