Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Muddy shoes and mission

In Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel, 45, Pope Francis wrote about muddy shoes.
We see then that the task of evangelization operates within the limits of language and of circumstances. It constantly seeks to communicate more effectively the truth of the Gospel in a specific context, without renouncing the truth, the goodness and the light which it can bring whenever perfection is not possible. A missionary heart is aware of these limits and makes itself “weak with the weak... everything for everyone” (1 Cor 9:22). It never closes itself off, never retreats into its own security, never opts for rigidity and defensiveness. It realizes that it has to grow in its own understanding of the Gospel and in discerning the paths of the Spirit, and so it always does what good it can, even if in the process, its shoes get soiled by the mud of the street. (Italics added.)
Today I almost got stuck in the mud in nearby Candelaria.

I was planning on getting to Santa Rosa de Copán for a few errands, but as I approached the hill down to the clinic in Candelaria, I had to stop. The road was practically impassible. Because of the intense rains, a large patch of the road was pure mud and deep ruts.

I left my car there and walked and hitched a ride to the church in Candelaria since I had to return a monstrance I had borrowed for Corpus Christi. On the way back I ended up sinking in the mud, almost to my ankles, at the side of the road.

Now I could have gotten down the hill in four wheel drive, as several trucks did. 

But I decided to return home, since I had no assurance that I would be able to get up the hill in the afternoon. One car tried and had to be pulled out of the mud.

I stayed around the area for almost an hour, talking with people, many of whom know me (though I cannot remember many names or even where they are from). For me just being there was very important, experiencing a little of their lives and frustrations. I returned to Plan Grande, giving a number of people a ride in the back of the truck.

Muddy shoes are the mark of a rural missionary. They can always be clean, but I may not always have the great blessing of being able to stand around with people and talk about the weather, the roads, and whatever else in on their minds.

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