February 26, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Wednesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Mark 9:38-40

John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.”

Reflection (Sem. Jul Elden Nuique):

           I think it is safe to say that Jesus does not look at prestige or status to know if someone is His follower or not.  All that he needs is to do mighty deeds in God’s name, for it follows that the same person will also speak well of Christ.

     As I reflect on this passage, it becomes clear to me that all the basic vocations in life – marriage, single blessedness, priesthood/religious – are equally good and holy in God’s eyes.  No way of life is superior to the others; all are called to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.

       In my third year in priestly formation, after undergoing two years of philosophy and one year of theology, I have much greater respect for Christians who reverence God by the witness of their lives even if they are not part of the hierarchy of the Church.  When priests are persecuted, these laypersons experience the same treatment.  On the other hand, when priests are given special treatment, these laypersons are often left by the side of the road.  Yet no matter how ill-treated they may be, they remain faithful to Christ by the witness of their lives.  My direct experiences of these people are my family and the various groups of people that I have been privileged to live with in my apostolate.  These are the illegal urban settlers, the patients in hospital wards, the prisoners in Bilibid Prison, and the numerous volunteers in different parishes.  Through their lowly existence, these people imitate Christ most powerfully.

     It is a perennial challenge for me to live up to the standards set by these people.  To be faithful to God even without tangible remuneration, that is essential to Christian service.

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