August 10, 2017
Feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr
The Gospel Today
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.”
REFLECTION (Sem. Tristan Ralf Q. Pacheco)
“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”
Reading this part of the Gospel reminded me of my vacation in Vietnam two years ago. My sister had a business trip there for a week and she decided to bring me along as a birthday present. I was so excited to go there mainly because I would have the chance to visit the tomb of one of my favorite saints, St. Theophane Venard (a French missionary priest) treasured in a church in Vietnam.
On my visit, I was surprised that most churches in the country kept relics of Vietnamese saints, who were all martyred for the faith.
Today the Catholics in Vietnam, despite their small number, have been very faithful inspired by their saintly fellowmen who were witnesses of the faith until death. These holy martyrs were indeed grains of wheat that has fallen to the ground and died, and did bear good fruit – that is, the ardent faith of the Vietnamese Catholics.
This gave me hope as a seminarian who is a priest-in-process. I may not have the chance now to shed my blood for the faith. I may not be able to die for Jesus now but I can still die in many bloodless ways for Him as a seminarian – that is being always obedient, being faithful to the schedule, being attentive in prayers, being studious in my academics and taking every opportunity to be of help to my brother seminarians.
With these little “dying’s” for God, I hope, one day, I will also bear fruit.