Getting more by giving up more

Yesterday’s and today’s lectionary readings from Mark 10: 17-31 are very challenging to people like me who have many things.

In today’s Gospel, Peter tells Jesus “We have given up everything to follow you.” It’s a bit overstated, but then don’t we always overstate our dedication.

As I prayed over the reading this morning I reflected that I have given up some things – but far from everything.

Some people see my move here to Honduras as heroic. But it’s not. It just has come as the result of various opportunities that God has given me and of the inspiration and support of so many people. And it has been very good for me.

What touched me in the reading was Jesus’ response to Peter (Mark 10: 29-30):

…there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, who will not receive a hundred fold in this age – houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children and fields, with persecution – and in the age to come eternal life.

Here is Honduras  I often feel as is I have more than a hundred houses – places where I feel welcomed and where I am fed and where I can sleep, if needed.

I have hundreds of brothers and sisters. I especially think of all the campesinos I have worked with in the Dulce Nombre parish as well as in some projects in the diocese with Caritas. I think also of the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters in nearby Gracias, Lempira, who are good friends.

I have a few mothers, people who care for me. I think especially of the Spanish Franciscan sisters down the street who have welcomed me.

I have lots of children. I can hardly go anywhere, even here in Santa Rosa de Copán or int he Dulce Nombre parish, without some kid yelling, “Hola, Juancito.” Sometimes I don’t know how they know me, though some I remember of hte Santa Rosa kids from when the lunch program for kids was functioning.

I don’t have fields and up to this point I have not experienced persecution. And I do have hope for eternal life.

I probably wouldn’t have had such opportunities if I had stayed in Ames. But God has been good – and has filled me with many small joys.

Giving up even a little has great rewards.

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