Monday, April 1, 2013

St. Joseph, Beach mission, and Easter!

Just hangin' with Bishop Michael before the Palm Sunday procession
Although I still find the concept of me doing a blog somewhat strange, I'm reminded daily that this missionary endeavor isn't really about's about how God expresses and exercises His Divinity through the people I've been called to serve, as well as those He has surrounded me with tasked to challenge and encourage me in the faith. Although that may seem like a foreign concept to some, it's what I hope makes perfect sense to me. If I am somehow able to cooperate and remain faithful to His Grace to at least some degree, then I know that any fruit born from my labor will be much sweeter and more plentiful. A few weeks ago, the Church celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph. It couldn't be more appropriate to speak about faithfulness to grace...Joseph is one of the greatest examples in the Church of simple, profound obedience. In the Bible, Joseph is mentioned, but he doesn't actually say anything...nothing, nada. You wanna talk about grace, then let's talk about St. Joe...the Holy Spirit speaks to him in a dream and he listens to God's will WITHOUT complaining. I imagine he had some degree of anxiety, but simply chose not to express it in a way that could have negatively effected those he loved. I'd like to say that I could identify with Joseph in this manner, but I can only really do so by name. I complain a lot. I might not always express overtly, but regardless of how it surfaces, it doesn't do the soul any good. I think it's almost natural to complain, and it's not always necessarily a bad thing...but it also depends on how one expresses their complaint, be it concern or frustration. For example, children like to whine, so it seems, particularly with my nephews (big ups to sis and bro-in-law)...prayers for them are much appreciated. In contrast-in my experience with the majority of the people of Honduras- there are those who don't complain when they might have every right to do so. I mean...when we do mountain missions, the people who feed and shelter us are almost always giving out of their own need, and if/when more problems surface, they adjust accordingly so that we're more comfortable. It may not seem like much, compared to what we might be used to in the States, but they are giving us everything they have like it's ours. I know that to compare children to the mountain folk of Honduras might be unfair, but I do think it gives us a better sense of just how much we might complain, as well as how childish (not child-like) we can be sometimes...and this was made very clear to me over the last week in which our community ventured to a beach diocese called La Ceiba. It was first our first time doing any kind of mission in this diocese, so it was all very fresh and new to us. The week was tagged as 'Jesus en la Playa (Jesus on the Beach).'
Jesus en la Playa!
Beach skit on the sidewalk

Getting to know the locals
 It was definitely exciting and a nice change of pace in regards to mission work. Although my city of origin might indicate otherwise, I was never much of a beach person, but it did certainly remind of home and family, which is always a nice thought to have in the midst of uncertainty and chaos. So anyways, in regards to my childish ways, I was presented with many opportunities to complain throughout the week. Whether it was the heat rash I inherited on the 6 hour drive to La Ceiba, the standard stomach issues that accompany foreign travel (that held me inactive for a day), the absolute downpour one day that prompted us to plan D, or the nice sunburn I received on the way back (which was mostly my fault), I realized that I did have a choice in the matter of how to respond. I'm definitely not saying I always made the right choice, but I was at least aware that I was given one. In most cases, I could have either accepted what was before me and prayed for the grace to respond in a vigilant manner, or I could have whined and pouted about how nothing was going my way. When things don't go the way we had hoped, we tend to lose heart, or even worse, just give up. We think if things don't go the way WE want, then they don't have any value. As Mother Teresa once said, "I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness." We're not called to be successful...we're gently encouraged to have faith, faith like a that one day we might rest with Him in Paradise...Happy Easter!


  1. I love this, bro.

    Trust me, it gets harder and harder to write on these blogs when you're down there. As life there becomes the norm, it almost becomes more difficult to write.....BUT please write as much as you can!

    You have NO idea how much this inspires and impacts us back home who are praying for you daily!

    God bless you bro. Can't say I'm not a little jealous ;-)

    - Andrew

  2. Joe,

    Take this as an affirmation that even though blogging is a stretching of your comfort zone, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this entry and I'm sure I'll continue to enjoy future posts! You have such a clear yet eloquent way of describing emotions and experiences. Insightful? Lyrical? Are those the best word choices?
    Anyway, the right words aren't the point. The point is: keep writing, keep sharing. Not only do your friends and family gain a lot from it, but I can guarantee that blogging is one way Christ is asking you to stretch yourself. It's in stretching and sacrificing our comfort zones that we grow closer to Christ himself.

    As always, lots of love, friendship, prayer, joy and any other good thing you can think of :)


  3. The man of few words sure makes them count... grateful that I, and many, are able to follow you in this manner.