Today’s find: Wealth untold

One of these days, perhaps I’ll learn to take Jesus at his word.

In the gospel passage we heard on Sunday, for example, there was this gem:

Jesus said, ‘Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.’

As it happened, I heard these words proclaimed by one of my sons on Sunday morning.

Sharing the Body of Christ with the faithful...

Sharing the Body of Christ with the faithful…

Gerri and I were in Kansas City over the weekend, visiting Chris—where he’s serving as Parochial Vicar (aka Associate Pastor) at St. Francis Xavier parish near Rockhurst University.

It was certainly poignant to hear that bit about ‘giving up…mother or father’ coming from his lips. And it’s the truth of the matter, too: His vocation as a Jesuit means we don’t get to see Chris all that often. So in a sense, he—and we—have given up something…the simple joy of having family close by…for the sake of the gospel.

IMG_2674On Sunday morning, though, we received a remarkable return on our investment—just as Jesus promised. As we stood next to Chris in the gathering space after Mass, a woman walked up to greet us. Like several other parishioners, she expressed her gratitude for Chris’ ministry and his presence at the parish. Then she said something a bit different than all the rest: ‘For a long time now, I’ve gone to Mass begrudgingly. Your son is starting to change that, though. His homilies—they’ve softened the grudge a bit.’

With that, she was gone.

But not before Gerri and I noticed that we had tears of gratitude welling up in our eyes, over this one heart moved (if even only a smidge) by our son’s ministry.

Chris would be the first to say, of course, that it’s really Christ—and Christ’s grace—at work in this woman’s life. And that’s precisely the point: That Christ does use us, imperfect vessels though we are, to bear the Good News to hearts in need of Christ’s love…and light…and mercy…and grace.

A simple ‘yes’ on our part is all it takes to unlock this divine treasure chest, Jesus says.

In choosing to follow him, we become stewards of wealth untold.

Not a bad gig at all.

A young Jesuit...alongside a statue of the original Jesuit, St. Ignatius Loyola.

A young Jesuit…alongside a statue of the original Jesuit, St. Ignatius Loyola.

 

Suscipe — A prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

 

 

Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.

IHS

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5 thoughts on “Today’s find: Wealth untold

  1. Mike Albers

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Joe Mueller

    Thanks for sharing this story. If memory serves me, research reveals many parents discourage vocations because they want grandchildren. And yet, I’ve hread and witnessed many stories like the one you experienced. A parent of a priest or religious often gains an entire community of “grandchildren” and others who are incredibly grateful for helping a young person develop and become a servant leader in their religious community. May the gift you and other parents gave to our church continue to bless you and others hundreds of times over.

    • I’ve heard the same thing from various Vocation Directors, Joe: Parents often stand in the way of their children’s religious vocations. It always boggles my mind a bit, because most Catholics I know also speak very highly of the priests and nuns and brothers they’ve encountered along the way.

      That’s one reason why I wanted to share this little vignette — as an encouragement, that we all develop a spirit of ‘yes’ when it comes to hearing the Lord’s call — young people and parents alike.

  3. Lisa Simmons

    John, I just shared your post with our newly ordained associate pastor. His family lives in Springfield, MO and he is assigned here at our parish in Cape Girardeau. I know he misses home and being close to his family yet his ministry here in just the four months he’s been here has changed so many lives and brought so much enthusiasm to our parish. He is a blessing to work with (and since he’s the same age as one of my daughters it’s like getting to work with one of my kids again!) thank you for this story!

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