August 20, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church


Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Reflection (Sem. Primitivo Eublera, Jr.):

Very touching to me in tomorrow’s Gospel is the word a “hundredfold”.

I can still vividly recall my own experience in the lay mission. This lay missionary activity led me to stay full-time in our center, thus, like in the Gospel, I also left my own family. I left my mother, my brother and sisters, nephews and nieces. If my father would have been alive that time, I would still doubt if he would allow me to become a full-time lay missionary for it would mean leaving him also.

There was this family that we visited, since one of our apostolates was to visit families, bringing to their home the beautiful statue of Mama Mary from the group’s motherhouse in Brazil. The wife who happened to be my former officemate, was so amazed with our apostolate. Out of her amazement, I recalled she asked my confrere and myself the question, “…so brothers, you intend not to marry anymore and you left your own families?”, of which my confrere(a Brazilian) readily answered, “Yes, yes, in this untiring apostolate, one cannot really marry…and for our families, we left them for a bigger family. And you are one of these bigger families that we now belong…” I was so touched with the answer for I too left my family that time. I rarely saw my family members. My Mom would even tell my niece who used to call me, how much  she missed me. To me, the apostolate to different families at that time was so overwhelming, that I had rare time spent even talking by phone to my own family members. Though it was not easy, there was this kind of fulfillment because I even had more than a hundred families.

As I go through in my seminary formation, I have to get back to my own biological family to further not only my spiritual but my human formation. But I know in the future, when I become a priest through God’s grace, in Jesus Christ the High Priest, I would be leaving again the comforts of my own family and be with a bigger family of God’s people.

I call on Our Lady, Queen of the Families, to guide the different families of today especially those which are experiencing difficulties in family relations. I recommend all of them My Lady to Your maternal protection. Amen!

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