Sunday, November 06, 2011


I am back in Honduras, after five weeks in the United States. During that time I had the blessing to see many friends and family members, including my aunt Mary who turned 94 on October 8.

Fr. Jon Seda at Mass in St. Thomas Aquinas, Ames
I also spoke at many events at St. Thomas, as well as at Iowa State University, Simpson College, Loras College, and the University of Detroit-Mercy. So my time was not all vacation. In fact, I saw it as part of my mission -  to spread the Good News of the poor to people in the US.

But it is very good to be back.

I still haven’t been to the countryside, since I needed to do some work on the car (a battery) as well as try to clean the house and arrange the stuff I brought back (mostly books and dark chocolate.)

But I am looking forward to visiting with people in the rural villages of the parish of Dulce Nombre.

On the plane back on Friday, I read the first reading for the memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Romans 12: 3-13.  Verse 8 in the Spanish captured my heart:

... el que atiende a los necesitados, hágalo con alegría.
Let those who take care of  those in need do it with joy.

Most of the English translations  aren’t so straightforward. The Jerusalem Bible translation is the closest: “[Let] those who do mercy do them cheerfully.”

The Greek is simple – but the Spanish translation touched me with its straightforward message. It also reminded me that many people I saw in the US told me that they could see a joy in me.

Yes, it’s a joy, a joy of sharing in the lives of the poor.

This reminds me of this quote from Shane Clairbourne’s The Irresistible Revolution:

It is a wonderful things when folks in poverty are no longer just a missions project, but become genuine friends and family with whom we laugh, cry, dream, and struggle.

And I remember these words of Fr. Dean Brackley, S.J., a friend who died in El Salvador  last month of cancer:
These people shake us up because they bring home to us that things are much worse in the world than we dared to imagine. But that is only one side of the story: If we allow them to share their suffering with us, they communicate some of their hope to us as well. The smile that seems to have no foundation in the facts is not phony; the spirit of fiesta is not an escape but a recognition that something else is going on in the world besides injustice and destruction. The poor smile because they suspect that this something is more powerful than the injustice.
Yes, there is joy and hope - because here I have experienced that there is something more powerful than injustice - the grace of God working among the poor.

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