The Gospel Today
Saturday of the First Week of Lent
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Reflection (Sem. Rolly Teng):
In today’s Gospel, Jesus wants us to be perfect just like His Father in heaven who is perfect. Love is the perfect sign of God to all of us.
Early in high school I already felt that God was calling me in this vocation. I asked my parents, my friends in the youth ministry in our parish and even my parish priest if I could enter the seminary. Of course they were all very happy when they heard this desire, and they said YES to me. But still I was confused and afraid. So, I prayed hard and asked them to pray for me so I can be enlightened. Because I was desperate during those times, I asked God to give me a sign to help me decide whether to enter the seminary or not. Sad to say there was no sign given to me. After high school, I did not enter the seminary but rather took a vocational course. I took electronics. But after a year and a half I stopped and started to discern again. To make the story short, I was still able to enter the seminary, but after two weeks I decided to go out because I couldn’t adjust to the schedule and from being away from my family.
Now here I am, in my seminary formation. The sign I was asking when I was discerning before was revealed to me already. Through our recollection I recognized and accepted to myself that the CROSS was the real sign of God’s love for me. This cross is the concrete sign of my vocation. Yes I admit that I was too already familiar with this cross but I saw its deeper meaning. The Pharisees were asking for heavenly sign just to embarrass Jesus. But Jesus humbled himself; he took the form of a slave just to show His great love to me. He allowed Himself to be embarrassed; he was hanged on the cross just to show His concrete love for me. Jesus died on the cross to pay for all my sins. Jesus was thirsty for me. Jesus was embarrassed because He loved me. Am I ready also to be embarrassed to show my love for Him? How about you?