“If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta

I went to a wedding recently of a good friend, and there were so many people that I did not know.  They knew of me as I of them, and it was neat to chat with all of them - friends, complete strangers, and acquaintances alike to know them a little bit better. 

When they asked me what I did for work, I replied excitedly that I worked at a university where I planned immersion trips for students, faculty, and staff all over the world to encounter others experiencing injustices and poverty that these university people may never otherwise encounter.  I spoke with fervor because I loved what I did. Sometimes I’d have to pinch myself because I wondered if life could get any better.  :)

When these same people asked me where we’d go on these immersion trips, they mirrored my excitement as I stated our international locations like India, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador.  Our students reacted similarly when they applied for these immersion trips, with a majority of them desiring to depart to these exotic, faraway places.  Even as a college student myself, I had wanted to go to Latin America for immersion trips.  Like great missionaries such as St. Francis Xavier (whose feast day we celebrate today) who went to Asia from his homeland in Spain, we wanted to be with and save a world thousands of miles away, even though there was a whole world worth saving under our own roof.  Instead, thanks be to God, when I was student, I was sent to Mississippi. 

In recent years, I have grown to love exactly where I am, but I haven’t always been that way.  It used to be difficult for me to see and be with the need in my family, in my friends, and in the poverty and injustice that was just in my backyard.  In some ways, they were like strangers or acquaintances, even though I thought I knew them well.  However, I worked to know them much better, and now it is those relationships that I love the most... those under my own roof.

“If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”  Millions of people have heard about what Mother Teresa did for the poor and sick in India. People would come from all over to help others like she did.  However, in her reply, Mother Teresa stated something so simple... 

Let us go home.  Be under our roofs (with Jesus entering, too).  Love our families (and others close to us, too). 

Then, maybe the world would be filled with so much happiness, that maybe, just maybe…. we would have to pinch ourselves, thinking how life just couldn’t get any better than this.

How would our lives be different if we recognized and loved those right under our own roofs? 

Eddie Ngo