At mass today, I was blessed to hear the preaching of a missionary priest from Africa.  Originally from Ghana, he served (or serves) in Togo, Africa.  He was a blessing and his preaching was moving.  He told the story of being a missionary priest and his own conversion in the midst of it to understanding today’s reading – being the bread for the world, his own life being the bread for the world.  It was moving. 
    Thinking to myself at one point that I don’t even know where Togo is, I have discovered a bit of geography curiosity that I hadn’t experienced before.  I’d like to learn more about the world and Africa seems the right place to start.  So, to that end, I’m going to do some studying.  I don’t know if I’ll be sharing anything that I will learn, but here’s one thing:
Togo, Fr. Anthony said, is a small country – only five million people.  Ca
California, where I now life, has over 36 million people.  I grew up in a small town in Illinois with a population of 900 people.  One thousand seems like a lot to me.  40 thousand, the nearest "big city" to where I was reared was a lot of people!  I cannot imagine calling a country of five million people small.  Yet, of course, by a particular standard it is. 
    What moved me the most in Fr. Anthony’s story was the tale of one person and one other person’s relationship to that one person.  And in that story, for me, Fr. Anthony connected me to all five million in Togo.  They are all my brothers and sisters.  Ones I am unlikely to ever meet, but mine nonetheless. And yours too.  There’s one there named Maria.  She was desperately poor.  After her husband died, her inlaws tried to take away her one room house and 25 metre (82 feet) parcel of land in which she and her dying mother and her two daughters lived.  Fr. Anthony listened to her, then Fr. Anthony helped her.  And later she became Catholic and her mother was baptized before she died. 
    Fr. Anthony is one person.  Maria is another.  They are my family too.  It’s not the first time small town girl has met small town world.  But it’s today’s time.