I just returned from eight weeks in Cuernavaca, a paradise just south of Mexico City, famous for its weather, its year-round profusion of flowers and its historic role as a portal for thousands of missionaries and college students on their way to Central America.
I lived with a host family and took Spanish classes at the school founded by Ivan Illich, the influential social critic of the 1960s and ’70s. I went south to immerse myself in a river of language flowing north to water the life and culture of the United States, including the church, now nearing 40 percent Latino membership. I went to Mexico to understand the complex forces driving migration and to find out whether the one baptism and Communion shared by Christians everywhere are stronger than the many borders that divide us. I went in search of the face of Jesus, the stranger who always reveals the future. I came home stuttering beginner’s Spanish (though my wife says I speak it fluently in my sleep) and eager to continue the journey.