February 6, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Memorial of Saint Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs

Mark 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Reflection (Sem. Alfredo Dimaano, Jr.):

     Jesus sends the twelve apostles to mission, two by two, to proclaim the Gospel.

     The Gospel today mirrors one of the four pillars of our formation which is Apostolate. At the start of the semester in time for the first apostolate weekend, seminarians have our Mission-Sending ceremony. Each is given our apostolate crosses and it is also there that our apostolate assignments and group mates are announced. This year, I am partnered with my batchmate, Sem.  Philip and we were assigned to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City during the first semester, and currently, we are doing our mission at a Catholic Church-run hospital. We only bring with us a few essential things on our backpack as we also keep in mind the purpose of our mission: to bring Jesus in the people that we meet– in the sick, in the imprisoned, in the poor.

     To me, one of the important aspects of our mission is to be “among the people”: to share in the plight of the urban poor, to bring hope and the healing touch of Christ in the sick, and the compassion and mercy of the Lord for those behind bars.

     I have in mind a play of words on mission: “co-mission” and “commission”. As I am sent with my batchmate, he becomes my co-missionary who journeys with me in our visits. After a whole day, we usually have a sharing on our experiences which usually revolves around our interactions with those we talked to or administered with. Spiritual experiences become deeper because of that. Indeed, the Catholic Church is highly communitarian as we do not do things only on our own, that is, we always share it with others, celebrate with others, and grow in faith with others. We are then, co-missionaries to one another.

     On the other hand, there is also the temptation to be rewarded although not in monetary terms (that is, earning “commission”). Even with the poor and in the communities we serve, there were times when we are offered some comfort: to sleep in a nicer bed or to eat food better than the others. The Gospel reminds me that I do the mission to bring the love of Christ and in turn, also see His face in them without expecting anything, any “commission”, in return. Why? The experiences, learnings, and the opportunity to serve, is already the reward in itself.

     All of us are called for our life’s mission. Along the way, the Lord sends us people to be our co-missionary to spread the Word. Let us pray that we do not fall into doing things out of reward or commission but only because of our love for Jesus.

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