By Sem. Tristan Ralf Q. Pacheco
I remembered what I had been through the months before my entrance in the seminary. During my application period, even though I was nervous of the possible consequences of what I was pursuing, I had never imagined what it was really like when I finally received the letter of acceptance from the rector.
I clearly remembered that I felt fearful. I understood what being accepted in the seminary means but I was greatly troubled because I did not know what would await me there and what it would cost me. When I turned in my resignation letter, some of my co-teachers were happy and some were regretful of my decision for I was leaving behind a sought after position. Some friends were happy and a few were sad even commenting:
“Tristan, permanent ka na, T3 pa even without Masters at yung maraming benefits and bonuses every May and December sa public school….
Sayang pa ang magandang lahi” (just kidding, no one mentioned this!)
They were unaware of greater things I had abandoned: my family, my treasured friends, my materialism and my Holy Week goals.
But even now on my third year in the seminary, I feel that I have a lot more to give and surrender to God.
The Gospel reading today brings me hope, inspiration and consolation. The Blessed Virgin Mary, also felt “greatly troubled” when angel Gabriel greeted her. She did not understand what the greeting was for. But when she understood the call that God has given her – that is to be the mother of His Son – she still asked for some clarification yet she boldly said “yes” as a response. She never wavered since then, until the end – even in the face of sorrows and pains that she suffered when she witnessed His passion and death. I wish to be like Mary. May God give me the grace so that I could always say yes to Him, especially in this vocation, no matter how it would cost me and to refuse Him nothing.
THE GOSPEL TODAY
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.