The Gospel Today
Memorial of Saint Monica
Jesus said to his disciples:
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant,
whom the master has put in charge of his household
to distribute to them their food at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.
Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’
and begins to beat his fellow servants,
and eat and drink with drunkards,
the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day
and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely
and assign him a place with the hypocrites,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
Reflection (Sem. Jesus S. Salamanca Jr.)
Stay awake for God will come at the time when He is least expected. There are times in our life that it seems God is not present. Those are the times that we feel abandonment and desolation, especially when we are undergoing trials and difficulties. In spite of that reality, our Gospel for today is inviting us to always cling to the Lord and put our trust in Him, especially when we encounter tough experiences.
My vocation story started when I was an altar server in our parish. During that time, even at a very young age, I believed that God was calling me to become a priest. Although my desire to become a priest was already there, because of inevitable circumstances and the demands in the family, I opted not to pursue it. I had to take a course in a university for me to find a good job and be able to help in my family’s financial needs since my younger brother was still in college during that time. In 2008, I passed the licensure exam for civil engineers. Right after that, I was able to work locally and abroad.
However, it is true that God always finds a way for me to hear again His calling, for me to follow Him and serve the Church. God called me in the midst of my professional career, at a time when I was not expecting it. He called me when I had already told myself that “priesthood is not for me.”
Although this time I said yes to follow Him, I knew in myself that I still have hesitations because my career somehow was already established. That was why, I found it very difficult to do the first step to follow His call. I didn’t know if I was really ready to leave my job and not be able to provide for my family’s financial needs, or just ignore once again the call. In spite of doubts, however, with the process of discernment and prayers, with my whole trust in the Lord, I am here now in the seminary taking the first step in the priestly formation. All is grace.
Today, we also commemorate the memorial of St. Monica. Her life was a testimony of perseverance and faithfulness to the Lord. I can say that this beloved saint of Christian mothers suffered much during her lifetime. Augustine seemed to be a hopeless case. However, at the age of 32, he converted to the faith, and this was attributed to his mother’s prayer of surrender to the Lord.
Both the Gospel reading and the life of St. Monica are reminding me to persevere and have faith. Indeed, God comes to us at the time He is least expected. Our mind is not His. Our ways are not His ways. In the end, even though things are well planned, God makes changes. He is a God of surprises.