In thinking about this morning’s gospel, I begun to muse about the women in Jesus’ life and public ministry. The ones mentioned today, the ones at the foot of the cross, the ones who helped to grow and sustain the nascent Christian church. I have always wondered if those at the foot of the cross – those who witnessed the horrific death of Jesus – saw the Resurrection with different eyes and heart. Was it different to have been at Gethsemane, run away, heard about the crucifixion, and then be there in the upper room to witness to the resurrected Jesus? Was it different from those who saw the fullness of His suffering and death and to experience in their hearts what it truly meant to conquer death?
The women (and the disciple whom Jesus loved) persevered through the fullness of the Passion and Death. And there is grace and gifts that are the fruit of perseverance.
When I first arrived in Kenya as a lay missionary (many years ago), I would love to tell you I was carried on the wings of grace and humility to enter mission with a heart filled with compassion and joy. Sadly, the transitional shock of moving from western life to the slum of Kenya, left me more with the thoughts of “what have I done?” “what was I thinking” and moments of “I have a credit card… the airport is close by….” By the grace of God, I stayed. I persevered. Through the gift of perseverance, I experienced the life transforming years of mission.
I think about the people of Puerto Rico and their path to recovery. If you have seen the news reports, you know about the devastation. If you talk to people with family and friends in Puerto Rico you hear the first hand accounts of suffering and “what will happen next?” For an island troubled by financial crisis, crime, and now this devastation, how will they rebuild. Clearly it will include the financial aid of generous hearts and a nation. But it will also be rebuilt through the perseverance of the people, the graces they discover along the way, and the community they become.
May God bless them in their endeavors and help them to persevere.