The Gospel Today
Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”
Reflection (Sem. Philip Faustino Volante):
The Gospel is teaching us that we need to endure hardships in following Christ. Before entering the seminary, I would always think that living in the seminary is very good because it is quiet, people are accommodating, kind, and they have certain holiness whenever I look at them. But I realized that seminarians are also human. They have their limitations, weaknesses, perspectives and struggles that they have to face everyday of their lives. And I have seen this as I became a seminarian myself because I myself have faced challenges, difficulties, and struggles while in the formation, with my fellow seminarians and with myself. There are times when I would want to give up and tell the Lord, “I surrender!”, but God would always lead me back to the time when I said my “Yes” to Him.
My two years of stay in the seminary has been a roller coaster ride, conflicts with other brothers would always come, but, it is through the formation in the seminary that I learn to change and accept that in every suffering, God is there who loves and provides for us even at the lowest moments of my life. As our formator would always say, God never gives a problem that we cannot face. And true enough, I am still here in the seminary writing my web reflection; A true testament that the love of God endures in all trials.
So brothers and sisters, I ask you to please pray for us seminarians, to give us the courage and strength to stand up for God, to never falter at the waves of temptations and struggle, and to keep a firm faith in Him.