As a student of theology in Brazil, I marvel at how good my classmates, Brazilians, are in speaking Portuguese. This may sound strange, but as a student whose primary language is not Portuguese, I am in awe of the fluidity and complicated grammatical structure in which my peers articulate their ideas. To them Portuguese is easy, whereas I can only imagine the years of struggle to attain that ability. For me, the “naturalness” of my peers´ language is anything but.

I think of this quotidian experience of mine because I imagine it touches something of what Jesus´s peers felt when they heard him speak. I suppose they found in him a person whose words were “authoritative” because they were so natural. It might have seemed to them that he didn´t have to work hard to express himself. We might ask Jesus for this grace to express ourselves naturally, effortlessly, as he did with others.

—Christopher Staab, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic of the Chicago-Detroit province. He is currently in his second year of theology studies at the Jesuit house of studies in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Chris previously taught at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Chicago IL.