Only five months after our family’s arrival at our new post, we found ourselves in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, locked away from those we were sent to serve. Jesus, being who He is, still led us to the poorest of the poor. He opened so many closed doors—both literally and figuratively—for new ministries to flourish, despite the repercussions of the virus.
I said a quick prayer for the man on the corner. Not ten seconds later I was plagued by a litany of doubts. Why did I give him so much? What if he uses it for alcohol or drugs? I should have had a snack in the car to give him. I could have at least asked his name instead of only throwing him money.
His words cut me to the heart. The love of God is a sturdy shelter. His love never fails. His love transforms. His love heals. He fills me with peace.
When I sat down next to one of the men somebody sneered, “Don’t give him any money. He’ll just use it for drugs!” My heart sank. All these people were just in church professing their love for Jesus, who of course loves the poor. All these people call themselves Christians, and claim to follow Christ…and yet….
I realized that for my whole life I’ve been fasting to seek my own pleasure. To show myself my own willpower, or that I am better at Lent than other people.
Here, more than a single soul has been reached for less than every possible suffering! For the low, low price of $48,583.53 and a dozen years of school and work and sacrifice, the KINGDOM OF GOD IS IN PROGRESS. Through just ONE part of the job the Lord gave me—sometimes done poorly, even complaining-ly, often winging it, and very often realizing how the Lord played a long game in preparing me for the position—I contributed to the building of the Kingdom of God. I participated in the Great Commission.
I thank God for moving in the hearts of our team members who rejected the lie that during this time of quarantine they can’t do anything to help others. I thank God for inspiring us to coordinate the Christmas Rosary Giveaway event and also for our amazing missionary friends who were willing to help make this day such a success.
Then it struck me: these little piglets, cute as they were, had been bred for slaughter. And, like them, the adorable Child whose birth we were preparing to celebrate would ultimately be slaughtered. He was born into privation, and within days His life was at risk and He and His family were refugees.
The kids lined up right away for the gift, and of course the parents let them have it because, let’s face it, how could they say no to a beautiful gift? It felt awesome. It’s hard to describe the joy of being able to share the message of Jesus’ saving love to these kids who have quite simply never heard it before.
The young man reached out his hand and I gave him a 50-cent piece. I went in feeling relieved as they smiled and said thank you. When I sat down I felt like a powerful rush came upon me and I could hear a voice saying, “Fifty cents? Really? That’s all you are going to give me?”
Today I encourage you to be open to interruption— allow yourself to encounter whatever the Lord has for you today!
Do we struggle to recognize Christ when He is not clearly visible—whether it be in other people or hidden in the Eucharist? Tami, a missionary in Peru, reflects on the Sunday Gospel and on how Jesus comes to us in sometimes surprising ways. #advent
Are you looking for more peace this season? Thomas Vehige encourages us to make our daily encounter with Jesus a priority and gives practical tips on how to pray using Lectio Divina. #advent
Joanne Garcia shares how an embarrassing incident led her to encounter Jesus the Healer in a special way. #advent
May I not forget praise when experiencing or witnessing suffering, and may I not turn a blind eye to suffering in a season of greater praise. It’s a “both/and” kind of thing.
A category 4 hurricane was coming our way and we had to evacuate our home. Did you know that large pressure changes, which happen during major storms, can induce labor? Wait a minute. I just said yes to our first home birth and now I might be delivering this baby in someone else’s (a complete stranger’s, nonetheless) house? Lord have mercy!
All I could see was the back of his hand, which was holding his head. Both were covered with an extreme amount of blood which ran down the back of his shirt soaking it to a dark red. I immediately thanked Jesus for sparing my son’s life.
That these stories–and so many, many more–are real and are happening even now should affect me and compel me. They should move me into action as my heart is broken and put back together to look more like Jesus’ heart, which burns extra brightly with love for the poor.