On the weekends, I participate at a parish in a favela that is called “Conjunto Felicidade.” This is a hard name to translate, but it means something like “the place of happiness”.

As an American in Brazil, I find the way to understand the culture is to watch the faces of the people. And so, at Mass in Conjunto Felicidade, I watch the people as they sing, listen to the priest, and approach the altar. For me, the best way to learn about Brazil is to watch, carefully, how the people are and act.

I imagine that Jesus was a master at this. He saw the woman of Nain, and he knew how to respond. Having eyes wide open to the mystery of life around Jesus made him who he was. We might pray to have our eyes opened to the mystery of God´s life that passes before us today so that we too can respond with compassion.

—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.