By Odilio Alvarez
A few years ago, I was starting to fall in love with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe it was the daily Masses that we started to attend as a family or the glorious day of my Confirmation. Either way it was by God’s grace that I was changing. I am not used to change. I like things the way they are. “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” as the saying goes. Well, I didn’t think I needed “fixin”. God had other ideas.
Maybe I didn’t want to change but little by little I realized how much I needed to change. Hearing God’s word at Mass almost every day showed me His love for me. No matter how broken I was He knew what He could do with me. My heart was starting to grow as was my faith. I wanted to do more for the Church. I started feeling a call to be more active in my parish.One year I was elected to serve on the Parish Council at my family’s home parish of St. Anthony of Padua in Wichita, KS. I served faithfully for two years meeting only once a month to discuss and vote on all important matters to the church community. Still, it didn’t seem like enough. There has to be more to this service thing…right?
I enjoyed every meeting as I knew it was for the best of our church. However, I felt a call to serve the more universal church in a much bigger way. In 2009, I heard a homily from one of our priests that I believe was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit. He called me and challenged me to live without distractions and to live totally dependent on God! “What kind of life would that be like?” he asked. I remember driving home that Sunday with my heart on fire even though I was unsure how to go about it. This life He was calling me to sounded a lot like being a missionary.
Missionaries are from a long time ago, right? Priests and religious only, right? Definitely not married husbands with 5 children and another on the way, right? WRONG! “No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples. “(Section 3, Introduction, Redemptoris Missio) This was IT! This is what I was called to do. This was my challenge!
Since entering the Intake formation through FMC in September 2011, my family and I have served in Mexico and twice in the Philippines. We have lived solely on donations and mainly on God’s providence. Heck, we even welcomed our 7th child in Malaybalay last year!
Living in mission is not easy nor is it glamorous…all it is…is necessary! “Whoever is called “to teach Christ” must first seek “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus”; he must suffer “the loss of all things. . .”(428, CCC) “From this loving knowledge of Christ springs the desire to proclaim him, to “evangelize”, and to lead others to the “yes” of faith in Jesus Christ..(429, CCC) You are invited to come. You are invited to change. You are invited to spread the Word of God. The time to grow is now! Man enough?
Every day watching the news, I would see how the world is going to hell and wonder if all we can do is keep our heads down and live for the next day. What a bunch of BULL! Where are you men of God? Will the Lord return and find no faith? (Luke18:8) Jesus picked 12 non-perfect men for His plan of salvation. He is calling so many more now because there is more need of good news today! Don’t think that you can’t do it or that you don’t know how to do it because you can’t do it…on your own. You will have God the Holy Spirit on your side. He will equip you with all things necessary for a successful mission. More men are needed today! Man enough?
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