The Gospel Today
Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.
Reflection (Sem. Alfredo Dimaano, Jr.):
In today’s Gospel narrative, it appears that Jesus is the cause of division for some. And in a way, it sounds paradoxical when he said that “whoever finds His life will lose it, and whoever loses His life for my sake will find it”.
For someone who follows the will of the Lord, especially in this vocation to priesthood, and especially for someone who had tried to live as a professional for quite some time, it puts one into a dilemma: “Why do still need to pursue that? You are already accomplished in your work!” These are the same words that my brother told me when I announced to the family my desire to enter the seminary. If that event is the World Cup, the score would be 5-0, in their favor, for I did not win their hearts. In a way, the house was divided and when no one is backing me up, the challenge appears to be difficult.
But God has his mysterious ways. It is in that “foolish decision” of following the Lord, as some might think, that my life begins to attain greater meaning; it is in losing what I had gained in the past years of working that I was able to take hold of the real treasure, my pearl of great price; and it is in that “yes” to the Lord that my I moved from pursuing successes that the world offers to finding fulfillment in the love and peace that Jesus gives. Just when I thought that I am incomplete and apart from them, I have become more whole and complete.
Leaving the family has its hurts. The day I entered in the seminary, I asked myself: “Does this mean that I do not love my family thus, I can leave them for a “call”? In my heart, I know I got the answer in my prayers: it is not that I do not love them anymore, for God is a God of love, and would not permit that to happen. It is just that I have found joy in the consolation that I have discovered a far greater love which finds its expression in following His will.
Now that is more than winning the World Cup!