The Gospel Today
Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, BIshop and Doctor of the Church
Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
“Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter’s son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where did this man get all this?”
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house.”
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.
Reflection (Sem. Daniel Voltaire Hui):
It is a fact that vocation to the priesthood is not a popular choice among men nowadays. Especially here in Manila, where all the “seemed to be comforts” are here. How could one exchange the opportunity of working and earning well in the city, to a life of service? Priesthood is not a lucrative life, it requires great love and sacrifice for one to be able to live this kind of life. However, it is indeed a happy and fulfilling life.
When I decided to respond to God’s “call”, many of my friends laughed and even doubted me. They called me crazy. Somehow I understood them, for they knew me and they knew that it was not my type to do such decision. But what they did not know and see was what is inside me. My parents at first did not like and accept the idea that I will be entering the seminary. What my friends and parents only saw was the practical aspect of life. They disagreed because they have their own standards and expectations in life. It may be hard to understand that someone like me, who used to be aggressive and active in my career, will suddenly decide to stop working and then enter the seminary. They have seen me enjoying my life, traveling, exploring things and even fooling around, that is why they were not convinced and did not believe my decision. That someone like me could become a priest and dedicate my life to God and to the Church.
The Gospel today presents a similar situation. People were astonished that someone like Jesus, the son of a carpenter and Mary could preach like what He did in the synagogue. Their judgment to the ability and capacity of a person were based on His status in life and His background. They failed to see the real person for they only looked at such aspects.
A person’s capacity cannot only be based on the physical but what is in his heart. A person who is in love and has a passion for others can do beyond what a physically fit and intelligent person could do. For it is not the muscles nor the neurons that give drive to a person rather his inner strength and courage that the heart excretes called love.
Physically, I may not look like a priest or a holy man, and I may not even have a good and perfect past. But more than what others see, I believe God did not look at me the way others did when He called me. He looked beyond what the eyes could see, for His heart is the keenest of senses.