February 5, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

Mark 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place,
accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Reflection (Sem. Jonathan Cigaral):

     “A prophet is without honor except in his native place.”  The Gospel today speaks of Jesus’ rejection by the people from his own native place – Nazareth.  People from Jesus’ hometown rejected Him, whereas some from Capernaum and elsewhere had accepted Him to the extent of following Him back to Nazareth.

     Rejection in most cases can be very hurtful particularly if the person who is rejecting you is somebody close to you or most especially a family member. A family is supposed to be the first to accept you for who you are no matter what.  I am very blessed that my family has been very loving and supportive with the decisions that I made in my life.  I left my 15 year career in the BPO industry to enter priesthood.  I am not saying though that my decision was immediately accepted by my family.  No, it was not the case.  When I told parents and my siblings that I am leaving my work to enter priesthood, there were questions, harsh words were used, and emotional discourse happened.  It was painful for me to see my family’s disappointment and it was also equally painful to feel my family’s resentment of my decision.  The odd thing was, other people were so inspired by my longings to be a priest but not my family.  They vehemently rejected it.  There was one incident when a nun approached my father and I while we were attending a recollection seminar.  The nun told my father that he was so fortunate to have me as his son who was longing to follow Christ.  His response was “Sana nga.”   I knew back then that my father felt terribly bad about my decision to quit my job.  He was always so proud of my accomplishments in my career and there I was, letting go of everything.  That was the start of the silent treatment between us.  Few months later, my father was diagnosed with cancer.  We were all devastated.  However, our faith as a family gave us all the strength to embrace that huge challenge in our life.  Rather than being broken, my father’s condition brought healing to each one of us.  My father may have not recuperated anymore, but the seemingly ailing relationship of each one of us in the family was cured by love, care and compassion.  My father mentioned to our parish priest in one of his visits in our home that he was whole heartedly allowing me to go.  My father died two months before I entered the seminary.

     I am now in my second year of formation and my mother and my siblings have been very supportive of me.  In prayers and in thoughtfulness, my family has made me feel the love that they have for me no matter where I go.  Wherever God takes me, I would always go back home to my family where love, care and compassion abound.

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