Wednesday of the Third Week
As a current volunteer with Rostro de Cristo living in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in a community of the highest concentration of extreme poverty in the country, I had many expectations coming into this year, and most of those expectations have been far from reality.
I had expectations that I was coming here to serve in a sacred place of God’s chosen people, and that every day would be fulfilling God’s will. I had expectations that I would see huge changes within myself and my faith. However, the community I live in is nothing fancy – it’s actually very poor, dirty, and depressing at times. As an English teacher, most days don’t go according to plan and I often feel like I’m not making any different at all. Living in community with other volunteers, we often ask ourselves, "Am I really supposed to be here? Is this what God is calling me to do?"
In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist, Jesus’s precursor and the messenger who announced the coming of the Son of God, asks a few apostles to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Luke 7:19) John and others expected Jesus to arrive as a powerful king and to do great things. However, Jesus was no rich and powerful king. Instead, he was the poor son of a carpenter, he hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors, he healed the blind and cured the sick, the most lowly of society, and then was put to death. So Jesus responds to the apostles, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard…Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” (Luke 7:22-23) Jesus did not come as the king they expected, but blessed were those who still believed in him.
Just as Jesus calls us to recognize his own true identity, I must also recognize the identity and dignity of God’s people that I am serving here in Monte Sinai, and the dignity and value in all of the little things that are happening every day. Monte Sinai might not be what I had expected, but this community nonetheless deserves and has earned my very best. And even though it’s not every day that I feel myself doing God’s will and becoming a better servant of the Lord, it’s in the little things that I see the true value of why I am here. And as for changes in myself and my faith, well, change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s only after 5 months of living here in simplicity and solidarity with the poor that I am finally starting to recognize my faith getting stronger and my awareness of God’s presence everywhere around me.
In this time of Advent, as we await the coming of Baby Jesus, we are called to have continued faith even when things turn out to be completely different than we expected.
-Brooke Silvas '16, Rostro de Cristo volunteer in Guayaquil, Ecuador