"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it."
As I read about Babel in the first reading for today, my memory of the story of Babel was hearing it for the first time in religion class when I was in grade school. I remember thinking how scary it must have been to not be able to understand what another person was saying. How would they live? How would they survive?
Today, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of different spoken languages and dialects throughout the world. How do we understand each other? How do we communicate? Sure, English is spoken in many countries, but are we not too arrogant to presume another can speak English? I regret not learning another language when I was younger. I know words and phrases here and there, but I am only fluent in English. I should have paid more attention in my Spanish and German classes! I should have paid more attention to my grandmother and great-grandmother when they spoke Polish!
There is however, one common language that is "spoken fluently" across the globe, regardless of what your native country is, regardless of what language you think or speak in, regardless of what religion you practice. There is one common language at the foundation of it all; it is our common language of Faith. We all have some type of faith. Some stronger than others; some different from others, it is our unique spirituality. Our faith is our own personal language of our spirituality, but it is the common underlying foundation of our lives.
Jesus says in the Gospel, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." We all, in our own way, follow Jesus through our belief in God, our love for one another and our common language of faith.
Claire Smith is on staff at the Holy Cross Province Development Office in Chicago, Illinois.