November 11, 2014

The Gospel Today

Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop

Luke 17: 7-10

Jesus said to the Apostles:
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.”
Reflection (Sem.  Nathaniel B. Pagalan):
I once guised and worked as a waiter for six weeks as part of our exposure program in my former seminary. There were only three people who knew of my identity as a seminarian – my formator, the owner of the restaurant, and my immediate superior. The rest of my co-workers were clueless as to who I really was. I made up my identity from my school, province, and even my facebook account. My shift was from eight o’clock in the morning until 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon. I did what a regular waiter does from dishwashing, serving, waiting among others.

What I liked most about the work were my co-workers. They have been the humblest and truest persons I have met. And of course, I loved the free food. I could eat anything I wanted including dessert! However, customers can be very judgmental, mean and harsh. They called me by whistling and hand signals. I was wearing a nameplate but not once did I hear my name being called. They often shouted at me for very tiny mistakes. And it seemed for them, being a waiter was synonymous to being dumb and uneducated. But still, I would smile and own the mistake because the customer is always right.

However, being a waiter can be the most dignified and humbling profession. I think I am a better person now because of that particular exposure. Not only did I learn about the life of an ordinary Filipino worker but also I learned that every person deserves love and respect no matter what. One’s educational level, color of skin, religion, position, or rank is never a measure and assurance to deserve respect. To know and acknowledge that another person is made in the image and likeness of God is already enough.

Christ came to serve and not to be served. As Christians, we are all called to follow Christ. We are called to be Christ-like. We pray that just like Christ, we may learn to serve others truly with dignity, respect, and love.

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