Google+ WTN Haiti Partnership: April 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

She has done what she could

There is a story in Mark's gospel (Chapter 14) about a woman who brings an expensive jar of perfume to the house of Simon the Leper, where Jesus is having dinner with his friends. The woman anoints Jesus with the perfume, an act which is later seen as anointing him for his burial. At the time, the disciples were upset, asking Jesus why he let this woman "waste" this expensive perfume when the money could have been used to feed the poor. Jesus responds "She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could."

Dr. Mitzi Minor, a professor at Memphis Theological Seminary, taught a Sunday school lesson about this passage last week. She emphasized the fact that the woman understood the suffering Jesus was going through and knew what was going to happen to Him, even though none of His friends seemed to get the idea. She did something for Jesus that was an act of kindness and did not ask Him for anything in return, in contrast to the other people surrounding Him. The woman could not stop what was going to happen to Jesus; she could not prevent His suffering, she couldn't fix the problem with the Romans or with the Jewish high priests. But she offered comfort to Jesus and He was no longer alone.

This struck me as an insight into our mission work in Haiti, and for that matter anytime we offer comfort to someone who is suffering. We may not be able to fix the bigger problems, or to stop something terrible from happening. But we can give what we have; the love and support we can offer to another human being is sometimes all we have but it is our greatest gift. All God asks of us is to give the tiny gift we have, and He will bless it and make it into something wonderful.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lenten reflections

St. Vincent's School was founded in the late 1950s by Sister Joan Margaret, of the Society of Saint Margaret, an anglican organization based in Boston. Several of the sisters still live and work in Haiti. I just discovered an amazing journal account of the earthquake in Jan 2010, written by Sr. Marjorie who was living at the convent in Port au Prince. Click on the link below. If it does not work, visit their website at: www.ssmbos.com and look for their newsletter from Lent 2010.

http://www.ssmbos.org/sites/default/files/Epiphany%20Lent%202010.pdf

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Living Water

This past Sunday the gospel reading was about Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman. He tells her He will give her living water (John 4:3-42)

I always wondered what that living water was exactly, or if Jesus was just using a metaphor. I thought maybe He meant something spiritual like the knowledge of eternal life. I confess I often thought the Samaritan woman must have left feeling empty handed, or at least puzzled by a confusing answer.

I realized during Andy's sermon (Andy Andrews is our priest at St. Mary's Cathedral in Memphis) that by speaking to her as a woman, as a Samaritan, Jesus gave her the gift of recognizing her value as a person.
The living water is the gift of being valued
Of being given your dignity
Recognizing you have the freedom to be loved
To hold your head up and thank God you're alive

The Samaritan woman walked away from that conversation with something that couldn't be taken away from her.

This is the gift God gives to the Haitian people, a gift we Americans don't always see at first. We see the devastating poverty most Haitians endure all of their lives, and we ask, How can they love God? Why arent they angry all the time? The Haitians know that God loves them even though the world ignores them most of the time. They have a treasure inside that can't be taken away.