September 20, 2015

The Gospel Today

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
They had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

Reflection (Sem. Kein Harvey P. Chito)

9.20

I find the story of my father when he was about to graduate from high school truly inspiring. He said that he saw his very own name posted in the school’s bulletin board as one of the students who would not be able to march for graduation. In other words: “Diploma no more.”

That incident made my grandmother very angry. She went straight to the principal to argue. To cut the very long story short, the principal then allowed my father to march.

My father often told us his children that he was among the students who did not perform well in class. He was among the headaches of the teachers. I find my father wise but because he was not serious in his studies that time, his academic performance wasn’t good enough.

After  years of diligent work, my father, who was among the infamous names in their class, is now a successful entrepreneur. He said that some of his classmates who were honor students before are currently unhappy and often get lost in the track of their lives. My father’s passion, commitment and dedication gave him the advantage in life. Right now, he is one of the respected men in their batch and I am proud of him! The once upon a time extra has transformed to become one of the main actors.

This story of my father reminds me of Jesus’ wisdom in today’s Gospel. “Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and servant of all.’”

If you find yourself at the rock bottom of your life now, time will definitely come that God will raise you up. You need to believe because in His time, you will experience His abundant promises and you will be blessed.

It is also true that ambition has no place in the work of the Kingdom of God. As a seminarian, I should do things with excellence and distinction even if no one is watching. I should embrace being a follower first before being a leader. I should be a servant who will think of others first before myself. The death of my vocation will start when I begin to see priesthood as a career that needs promotions and recognitions. Jesus is calling me each day to say “yes” as His servant without expecting anything in return because at the end, priesthood is about selfless service. Priesthood is about humility. Priesthood is about sharing even if it hurts already.

I am inviting you to embrace and live a life that will make a change in others. You can start by doing simple things for your family or friends. Even a simple affirmation of someone can already make that person feel that he is not the last in line but instead, he is in the priority lane of God’s abundant blessings and everlasting love.

My seminary formation teaches me to set aside my personal needs and wants. My mission is not to be the first but instead to be the last. This act will help me to dedicate myself to others, especially those who are spiritually lost. To me, being a priest really entails lots of sacrifices that will require setting aside even my own beliefs, philosophies and values.

Why do I need to do this? It is because God wants me to be among the people who will proclaim His love to the world and I can only make this if I move forward with love and sacrifice. How? Again, by choosing to be the last.

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