The Gospel Today
Saturday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples:
“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?
I will show you what someone is like who comes to me,
listens to my words, and acts on them.
That one is like a man building a house,
who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock;
when the flood came, the river burst against that house
but could not shake it because it had been well built.
But the one who listens and does not act
is like a person who built a house on the ground
without a foundation.
When the river burst against it,
it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”
Reflection (Sem. John Paul S. Adia)
Storms signify bad events or memories in life. They are also dark moments accompanied by a gloomy feeling, or even anger. But in another sense, the existence of storms is like a purification process that cleanses all that it will pass through. Today’s Gospel reminds me of the storms in my life, especially my relationship with God. And to me, the only way to conquer them is to transcend or go beyond them.
Storms are like heartaches that continue to bleed in the heart. The painful experiences will become wounds in the heart. I, too, have my own wounds. They are my childhood traumas and my failures in life. I know that these are still part of my heart and my life. But living in the painful past is the most torturing experience I can give to myself. The seminary formation has given me the chance to undergo some life-healing programs in which I was helped to face and gradually heal these wounds. For some painful experiences, I realized that they continue to make my heart bleed because I was holding on to them. I was not holding on firmer foundation, who is God, and was clinging on to myself. I listened to my sentiments in life and not the comforting words of God.
Storms are also like trials which strengthen my faith and my vocation. When I entered the seminary, I thought that trials were omnipresent. I felt like they were never ending. Why? Maybe because the more I tried to be closer to God, the more the evil worked to pull me far from Him. But if I will just look into the difficulties and even the misfortunes, then I will never see how God is working in my life especially now that I am heeding His call. I remembered the sharing of my brother here in the seminary. When he heeded the call, God did not promise him a bed of roses but rather God promised to be with him all the time.
Indeed, it is true to me as well. The moment I heeded the call, it was the time that God started to purify this vocation that I am holding on to. That in the process of my priestly formation, pains and struggles will be there to allow me to experience more the love and mercy of God to me and to my family.