The Gospel Today
Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Mk 4: 1-20
On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”
And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”
Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
Reflection (Sem. Danichi Hui)
It was only a month since I went home and had my Christmas vacation. I could say compared to my last Christmas break, I enjoyed the recent one more. It was because I was doing my thesis before, but all the time that I had during the recent break was spent with friends and loved ones. After almost four years, once again I met my college friends. It seemed that we were already adults, because the last time we met, our topics for conversation were about our careers, new gadgets, next travel destination, and other things where we could spend our money. But now our conversation somehow matured and our views as well. They were now into settling down and getting married, of course economically we also discussed the basic necessities of a family. We talked about everything about having a family, and since by the grace of God I would become a priest, I would definitely have no family of my own. Then the topic changed and focused on my vocation. They asked me how I maintain a chaste life considering the many temptations around. I just smiled and simply told them that I pray. Looking at their faces it was as if they wanted to tell me, “come on you are so boring!” I knew they were not convinced, and so I discussed further. I told them that temptation is everywhere, and even the seminary, where it may seem to be a secluded and “holy” place has temptation. I told them that we had psycho-sexual class where we could understand ourselves more, spirituality classes that would strengthen our spirituality, counselor who would help us assess ourselves, Spiritual Directors who would lead and guide us in our spiritual journey and a prayer schedule that we lived out. The seminary provided everything we needed in order to form us to be the best priest we could be, and so it is still up to us if we are going to go the other way or pursue the goal of the seminary, which was to produce holy priests.
The Gospel for today speaks about the parable of the sower. As a summary, it is like telling us to grow where we are planted. It is very much applicable to my status right now as a priest in process, every now and then we go out for breaks or vacation, and being out of the seminary structure would sometimes lead me to go back to my old ways, but that is not what I am expected to be. Having been in the seminary for three years, what is expected of me is to live out the life of a priest, since it is the life that I am going to have in the future. The challenge for me as a seminarian is to little by little grow to where I am being formed to be. The life of a priest does not start when I get ordained, but even as early as now. We share almost the same life already, and that is a celibate life. Yes, my friends were right when they said that temptation is everywhere, but as a faithful I know that though temptation is everywhere; God is always at my side. The things that I have learned in the seminary are aids for my growth, but the prayer life that I live out is my own effort in growing.