October 24, 2015

The Gospel Today

Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them—
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”

Reflection (Sem. Gerald M. Moscardon)

10.24

Once when I was on my way to New Manila with my brother-seminarian to pick up our speaker for our weekend recollection, I saw lots of street vendors selling this peculiar plant that looks like bonsai. Upon close inspection, I saw that they were just a collection of many plants twisted at the base to make it look like a real bonsai.

It was a clever idea. It reminded me of the same plant I bought a week earlier. The curious thing about my plant, which I named “Groot,” is that it is so delicate and you have to water it at least 4x a day or else it will wither.

When I bought Groot, he has beautiful white and purple-colored flowers. After a week and after forgetting a few times to water him, most of his flowers started to fall off and he started to wither. I gave Groot much more attention than before and I started to stick to a schedule so he will be watered regularly just like what I used to do back home with our garden.

I love plants. In fact, in our home in Quezon City, I am the only one interested in mending our small patch of garden in front of our house. I am the person with a “green thumb” in our family. If I leave for a week, surely the garden will need a lot of fixing when I come back. My family doesn’t have much the patience and the knack for gardening. That is why my frustration with Groot isn’t that surprising. I gave him a lot of my time; a lot more compared to our garden at home. I made sure that he got proper sunlight and water. I made sure that I stuck with my schedule but why is it that he still continues to wither and all of his flowers have fallen off? He is not the same Groot…but I will not give up on him.

Jesus never gave up on me. Just like Groot, I strove to look pleasing in the eyes of God. With all my vibrant-colored leaves and flowers, I presented myself to God but it did not last long. I started to wither because of my sins. I started to be lured into the pleasure of the world. I relied on them for strength and satisfaction. I was “happy” at first but when the true nature of the false happiness was exposed, I was already withered to the point of death; far from my God.

But Jesus never gave up on me. I could have been easily cut off or thrown away just like when I thought that Groot had no hope of recovering, but Jesus never gave up on me. Every day, He nourishes me with His life-healing water. Every day, He gives all of His time to me. Every day, He never stops loving me and He never gets frustrated when I wither away.

It is because of His love that I am here in the seminary as a priest in process. Who would have thought? He never gave up on me. He never gave up on showering me with His Mercy. Now, from my withered stem sprouted a new bud with a hope of flourishing into a new plant with vibrant flowers.

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