5 December 2018. Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Reflection (Sem. Keith R. Buenaventura )
Two years have passed since the Holy Father, in his bull of indictment Misericordiae Vultus, asked us to take a look at the Merciful Father. During that year, I began my journey in the seminary. There were seven of us who entered the seminary that year. As a fruit of our discernment and prayer, we had chosen Misericordia as our batch name, not so much because we entered the seminary during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy but also because our aim was to look forward to the experience of opening our hearts and allowing God’s mercy to overflow to those living on the fringes of our society. Our identity is to become bearers of mercy.
As we continue our vocation journey—although we’re only three now—we live out our name by being mercy to each other. Individually, we learn how to help and serve each other. Our tasks in the seminary pave the way to selflessness, that is, choosing to take on the problems of others and going above and beyond the call of duty. It is also by helping one brother who needs help that others are also encouraged and inspired to help. In the Gospel, Jesus took the available bread, blessed it and shared to the people. Drawing inspiration from the acts of Jesus, the crowd participated in the sharing and multiplication of the bread. The grace of God is enough to address anything we worry about in our life.
Just as what we usually hear in one of the common prefaces in the Mass, we say to God: “although you have no need of our praise, yet our thanksgiving is itself your gift, since our praises add nothing to your greatness, but profit us for salvation.” God’s mercy and compassion makes of us a person-for-others. Wherever and whoever needs our help, there we are called to serve. Our batch has experienced mercy in every aspect of our seminary formation. We are inspired to give back this mercy to the people we encounter within our community and in the apostolate. May God be praised in our little acts of mercy.
The Gospel Today
At that time:
Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee,
went up on the mountain, and sat down there.
Great crowds came to him,
having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute,
and many others.
They placed them at his feet, and he cured them.
The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking,
the deformed made whole,
the lame walking,
and the blind able to see,
and they glorified the God of Israel.
Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
for they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
I do not want to send them away hungry,
for fear they may collapse on the way.”
The disciples said to him,
“Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place
to satisfy such a crowd?”
Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.