For Christmas break, my family headed to Mexico for my sister in law’s wedding. It was a beautiful time in my beautiful picturesque country, per usual… only this time I had an encounter with Christ in a very tangible way.
On our way back and forth from family gatherings and outings, we would drive through interstate 57 which basically runs through all of Mexico. On the side of the road, were hundreds of small families separated by a couple of miles, if not less. These families were asking for help. They were starving, they were poor. I was faced for the very first time with extreme poverty.
As we passed and passed these families, someone riding with us made a comment “Poor people, how sad.” I’m not sure what it was about this comment that through me in reflection mode. I’m not sure if it was selfish or not but this comment hit me hard as if the comment was meant for me.
These people were starving, hungry and poor. Me, well, I have everything and more than what I need. I quickly realized THESE PEOPLE were “the least of these” which Christ mentions in the gospels. I had fallen in the consumerism trap, and for a while now I had found it stealing my peace.
I began to pity us, well me. Thousands of cars drove by and not a single one would stop. The 2-year-old girl on the side of the road asking you to stop wasn’t enough. I no longer pitied them, I pitied me. I pitied my hardened heart, that had become immune to the pain of others.
The most common excuse for not stopping was it was unsafe. I won’t go into details on what we opted to do, but I will say my heart is still in pain. These least among us, are Christ are part of the body, are my brothers and sisters. They deserve to live in dignity, but I couldn’t help but note that they understood of trusting in the providence of God in a way I was very far from understanding.
Obviously, you and I cannot go fix every problem that pops up on the news, but what we Can do is find our passion and serve. Let’s discern, let’s listen. You have gifts I have gifts, and if you’re reading this you have more than what you need to offer up those gifts for the service of the “least of these”. We often pray for the suffering, but we often forget we are Christ’s mouth, hands, feet, body. It’s up to you and me.
This Christmas I was full of peace with my beautiful son and extraordinary husband, but I think Christ gifted me with something else: an encounter with Him in a way never before.
I praise God for those beautiful faces, and I am also very hesitant at what He may be calling me to do with this experience. It’s sort of uncomfortable, sort of counter culture, sort of scary. This, though, is still in prayer and nothing has been acted upon so I will keep you all posted!
Pray for me as I continue discerning what my part needs to be, and I will pray for you!