Updated: Oct 18
A biographical movie was released last month , A Million Miles Away, about the inspirational story of astronaut José M. Hernández (played by Michael Peña), who achieved a seemingly impossible dream — a dream that took him from working in the fields of California all the way to space.
The film depicts Jose Hernandez' humble beginnings as the son of Mexican migrant workers. From childhood, Hernández would travel with his family to help harvest crops in the San Joaquin Valley. From La Piedad, Michoacán, Mexico, they would go from one harvest to another, and Hernández hopped from one school to the next. In fact, he didn’t learn to speak English until he was 12. (AARP Interview, Oct. 10, 2023).
Mr. Hernandez' application to the NASA Space Program was rejected eleven times, before he was finally accepted on the twelfth time. In interviews, he tells us he was ready to give up after his sixth attempt; however, his wife encouraged him to keep trying.
The astronaut-writer emphasized the spiritual aspect of his journey, disclosing that he took his scapular, rosary, and Saint Christopher medal with him into space. “I’m a devout Catholic,” he explained, “and there’s room for both science and religion to coexist within an individual because science tells you how things happen. Religion tells you why things happen.” (Reel Faith, Sept. 14, 2023).
Astronaut Hernandez' persistence reminds me of today's Gospel in that Hernandez never gave up. He kept on trying through all the rejection. It didn't come in accordance with his timing but in accordance with Jesus' timing. May we always remember to keep praying and having faith that God takes care of our every needs and he uses our gifts at the right time for the right purpose.
Gospel Lk 11:5-13
Jesus said to his disciples: "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.' I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. "And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"