August 23, 2015

The Gospel Today

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6:60-69

Many of Jesus’disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending
to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said,
“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Reflection (Sem. Justin G. Gatus)

Rays of light through the open white door on blue wallIt’s been almost three months since I and my batch mates entered the seminary. And within the span of those three months,
a lot of things had already happened. There were exciting weeks where I felt elated even though we had to sleep late at night. There were also very tiring weeks where we had a lot of things to do in so little time. There were also “light weeks” where I felt that I was on cloud nine — everything seemed to be in its place. I could study and work well, the conversations were light, and I was full of enthusiasm.

I remember what I told one of the higher brothers about my feeling on my first week of stay here in the seminary. I told him that I was full of zeal and the feeling of enthusiasm kept me going even though at times we slept very late at night. He said that it is just the beginning.

Soon enough, I began feeling the exhaustion and the weight of the things here in the seminary. I also remember that most of the people warned me that life is not easy in the seminary. With their remarks, I said to myself that I will make it easy for me and I will think positively. I never felt very low. True enough, little by little, I already felt the exhaustion —physically, mentally and emotionally. And what I did was to pray hard to talk to God. I asked Him for strength and determination to continue.

When I came back to my senses, I have come to realize that my journey is just the beginning and there will be more heavy, challenging, and tough experiences that I will face.

Reading the Gospel made me reflect on my experiences in my first few months here in the seminary. I entered full of zeal and determination until I faced the trials and demands of formation. There were things that shocked me. At times it seemed like Jesus was asking me if I wanted to leave. But like Peter, I also asked, to whom shall I go? I got the answer through prayer. I chose to enter and I am choosing to stay.

The Gospel encourages me to face everything with Jesus by my side, full of trust and faith in Him. And when fear and discouragement strike me, I will always ask Jesus, “To whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life.” I will hold this Gospel in my heart as I continue my formation in the seminary.

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