The new and the old

Today feels like the start of a new year.

Maybe it’s just that the Christmas season, in the church calendar, is finally over. But it could also be that this morning’s Gospel reading is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

Walking by the shore of the lake, he calls his first four disciples – to be fishers of human beings, a revamping of their occupations.

In some ways God calls us to something new, something that may radically change our lives.

That doesn’t mean that we have to abandon our current vocations, though that is a real possibility. It means that we are called to look upon things in a new way.

But I have found that when God has called me, even making what seems like the drastic move to Honduras at he age of 60, I was prepared to do this – not in a pre-planned way, but in the way that I had lived my life before.

God uses who we are and what we do to call us out of ourselves, to better serve God and God’s people.

So a philosopher, a campus minister, a single man comes to Honduras and finds the call to be with the poor in a rural parish, in a country that has experienced natural disasters, political disasters (like the 2009 coup), economic disasters, and violence.

I also find myself working with catechists, most of whom have at most six years of formal education.

But I find that my philosophic training helps me analyze the situation; my involvement in non-violence training using popular methodology helps me in finding ways to help catechists understand and communicate their faith in new ways; my campus ministry work helps me see the importance of being available and present to the people. ( I think it was the Dominican Timothy Radcliffe who called for “loitering with intent” as a part of campus ministry.) My experience in El Salvador and in Iowa has given me a love for the countryside and a deep love of the small farmer.

I’ve been prepared. But what’s next?

God calls us where we are, using who we are, to become more.

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