The Gospel Today
Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 12: 49-53
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Reflection (Sem. Rolly Teng):
Today’s Gospel allows me to recollect the famous adage, “Many are called but few are chosen.” Following Jesus is a difficult decision to make. When we feel that God is calling us, we will do everything to answer His invitation to the priesthood. On one hand, some parents do not allow their son to heed the call because of many reasons. But when we feel that our hearts are burning, and we cannot contain it anymore, we insist on following and answering God’s call, even if it creates divisions and misunderstandings within the family. I believe this is the meaning of our Gospel for today when Jesus says, “Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”
I would say that I am fortunate that I have my parents, who are very supportive and understanding. When I decided to resign from my work and leave them behind for the priesthood, their support was remarkable. I still remembered how everything went.
When I decided to enter the seminary, I remember the words of my Mom telling me, “Rolly what are your plans? You want to pursue the priesthood? Remember, you are not getting younger. Do not worry about us; you have your seven siblings to support us. I believe through the mercy of God, we can still eat three times a day. God will not abandon us.” These were the words of my loving Mother.
After hearing those words from my Mom, I felt nervous and afraid. I thought of many things if I pursued this call from God. What I did during those times was I prayed over it and asked God to enlighten and guide me, because I knew that once I said yes to this vocation, I needed to detach myself from many things and that would create division, such as within my family, my friends, my work, the youth ministry both in parish and in the diocesan level and aside from those things, I needed to free myself from my wrongdoings. But in spite of my emotions of nervousness and uneasiness, I came to answer the call. What made me decide to do the necessary things for my application? It was the assurance of my mother. I was very worried about them during those times. But since I heard her assurance not to worry about them, I had the courage to do the first step in the process of searching and later on to follow the will of God.
To make the story short, after praying and consulting some priest friend, I decided to undergo the process of application. I bore in my mind that God would be with me. He would not allow me to make things possible if He had no plan. From that time on I entrusted myself to God and I allowed Him to work in me, I allowed myself to cooperate with Him and His plan for me, even though I was aware that it would be difficult and challenging because I had been in the seminary before. I knew how it felt because I had been there. But despite these realizations, I believed and I was very confident that Jesus was my assurance in everything I did and I would do.
Lo and behold, I was accepted here in the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary. I did not expect to be accepted here in the seminary since I had been hearing from some friends that it was difficult to enter or to be accepted in HASS. They told me that the process of admission was too long and the formation was very intensive. Yes, it was true that it was difficult but again I applied my personal principle in life that God would guide me. Jesus would be with me because He was the Emmanuel. Jesus was my assurance. Jesus would always assure me that He love me and he is full of mercy.
Perhaps today’s Gospel invites us to trust God. As Jesus says “Do not be afraid, I am with you.” God assures us that He is with us as we take the journey to answer His call. Yes, as we go along, there may be divisions, misunderstandings, conflicts, struggles, difficulties, and many more, but let us bear in mind that our God is bigger than all these things. God will not abandon us. His love will make us strong and persevering in everything we do. No matter how difficult or easy it is, God is with us. Amen.