August 19, 2014

The Gospel Today

Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Reflection (Sem. Brandon Bahayanan):

“We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?”

As I reflect on these words, I see an expression of assurance. After what they have done and have given, then what is it for them? Can they expect something good to happen from what they have ended?

On the other hand, what is being presented is the rich young man who possesses everything from material, relationship, position to a luxurious life. He is contrast from the disciples because he is so privileged to have such things. However, these possessions did not make him happy. In the midst of his excessive properties, something is still missing. He still lacks something that will lead him to eternal life.

The story of the rich young man is no difference from me somehow. I would like to focus on the things in my life which hindered my relationship with God. Just like the rich man, I was overwhelmed by the things I owned. I have been unfulfilled with my life even when there was more than enough.

If I speak about my life outside the seminary, though I am not well-off, I still have plenty of attachments – money, passionate relationship, career, family, friends, material possessions, fulfillments and life of relaxation. Letting go of these things seems hard to do especially that I have been attached to these for a long time.

Nevertheless, in today’s reading, God challenges me to choose Him, to be possessed by Him and to center my heart to the riches of the Kingdom of God. That is to say, God shows me the way. If I want to follow Him, I should only serve one real possession. I cannot serve two things at the same time. In the Gospel it says, “You can’t serve God and Mammon” and to this means that I cannot focus on both things “You’ll love one and despised the other.” So If I want to serve God with all my heart and mind I should let go and detach myself from the things obstructing my sight in looking at Jesus and in moving forward to fulfill my vocation to the priesthood. In addition, letting go doesn’t mean pain. It is a gesture of humility, peace, and joy which empty myself from unnecessary loads or riches so that God can fill me in with the treasures in heaven.

“We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” I believe through the eyes of faith and grace from God, I can expect good to happen in my life where I am now. I know I will receive more because I hold on to God’s hand as He holds my hand too.

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