August 21, 2015

The Gospel Today

Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope

Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Reflection (Sem. Kein Harvey P. Chito)

8.21

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” (Mt. 22:36).
This question pierced my heart as I reflected on today’s Gospel. Why? It is because I have this great desire to know the truth which is an essential part of my spirituality. And that truth is connected to that question.

I am in the seminary formation not just to be a priest but most importantly, to be a vessel of God’s love for Him and for others. I will always remember what my high school Christian Living teacher said to us: “Love entails sacrifices.” As I mature in life, that quote from her becomes clearer and clearer to me. Love is really sacrificial. Jesus Christ sacrificed a lot when He died on the cross. His love for you and me is really tremendous. He is more than willing to show His love for us to the point of giving up His own life.

My parents love me so much because they are always willing to make sacrifices for me. I know that it is painful for them to accept my decision of entering the seminary. They are both expecting me already to give them a daughter-in-law and grandchildren several years from now. And they are also looking forward to seeing me as one of the successors of our family business. But everything has changed in just a blink of an eye and I honor them for accepting the reality.

Their love for me is limitless and that is why they accepted my vocation. It was never an easy step for them but with God’s grace, the impossible became possible. Right now, I feel their support in this chosen life of mine. Thanks be to God!

It was love that moved Abraham to offer his son Isaac to God. It was also love that made Mary say yes to God’s will to bear a child which she named Emmanuel. My father is like Abraham. My mother is like Mary. Their love for me is precious.

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment” (Mt. 22:37-38).
I must admit this: it is not easy to follow God. It requires daily “yeses” to Him even if it is already hurting, exhausting and confusing. But that is the exact point.
To love God with all of my heart, I need to let go of the hurts.
To love God with all of my soul, I need to move forward even if I am already exhausted.
And to love God with all of my mind, I need to drop confusion.
As a part of my life’s journey, I offer my seminary formation to God as a way of expressing my love for Him.

Let me take you to the next commandment.
“The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 22:39).

For more than one year, I shared my experiences to our PREX (Parish Renewal Experience) participants as a speaker before I become a seminarian. That exposure taught me how to respect, trust and love my neighbor. I remember one time sharing to them this line: “Jesus is also present in the hearts of our enemies.”

Coming from honesty, it is really hard to love the people who hurt us. I experienced that already. It is such an insane act to give them a large portion of our heart. But then again, Jesus is present inside them. They are God’s instruments in our lives so we will be reminded that we need to keep our feet on the ground, be humble and forgive no matter what the costs are.

St. Paul told the Corinthians: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interest, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:4-7. 13).

I pray that you will experience the abundant graces of God by loving Him and others as well.

 

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