The Gospel Today
Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest
Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.
He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
Reflection (Sem. Philip Faustino S. Volante):
The Gospel for today is a clear indication of who Jesus is; he is “The Christ of God”.
I remember in one of our classes in Liturgy, our professor Fr. Dave asked us the question, “Who do people say that you are?” and according to Fr. Dave, in answering this question, you could understand what God really wants you to do for your vocation. This question struck me because as a priest in process, I no longer have to carry myself as myself, but to carry the name of Jesus wherever I go. Bringing Jesus to everyone means I have to let go some of the things that I have grown comfortable with, and carrying the name of Jesus also means I have to think less of myself and more of Jesus. I remember the very first time I attended Mass in the New Bilibid Prison, I was overwhelmed to see how active the inmates were in celebrating the Holy Eucharist, and everyone was singing, raising their hands and responding actively to the Mass responses. I told myself that God is present among these people because you could really sense the faith these people have. This experience even left a question and at the same time a challenge to me, “If I saw God in them, did they see God in me during my stay?” I don’t have an answer to that question, but I pray that they saw God in me, that they felt closer to God because of me. It brings me happiness whenever someone approaches me and tells me that he/she is praying for me, and that he/she believes that I can finish the formation. I know God works in people in a special way to affirm my vocation. I believe that it is no longer them who are speaking, but God.
Whenever I do tasks for the community, like being the psalmist or giving meal sharing, before I go to the sanctuary or the podium, I always pray to God to use me as His instrument in proclaiming His goodness to everyone, that may He use my voice to proclaim His words. May He use my body so that people will feel His loving and comforting presence, and may He use my mind and my heart to speak His goodness to all. I hope and pray to God that He continue to use me as His instrument in proclaiming His greatness to people.