November 19, 2014

The Gospel Today

Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 19: 11-28

While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.
So he said,
“A nobleman went off to a distant country
to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins
and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’
His fellow citizens, however, despised him
and sent a delegation after him to announce,
‘We do not want this man to be our king.’
But when he returned after obtaining the kingship,
he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money,
to learn what they had gained by trading.
The first came forward and said,
‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’
He replied, ‘Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful in this very small matter;
take charge of ten cities.’
Then the second came and reported,
‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’
And to this servant too he said,
‘You, take charge of five cities.’
Then the other servant came and said,
‘Sir, here is your gold coin;
I kept it stored away in a handkerchief,
for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man;
you take up what you did not lay down
and you harvest what you did not plant.’
He said to him,
‘With your own words I shall condemn you,
you wicked servant.
You knew I was a demanding man,
taking up what I did not lay down
and harvesting what I did not plant;
why did you not put my money in a bank?
Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’
And to those standing by he said,
‘Take the gold coin from him
and give it to the servant who has ten.’
But they said to him,
‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’
He replied, ‘I tell you,
to everyone who has, more will be given,
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king,
bring them here and slay them before me.’”

After he had said this,
he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

Reflection (Sem. Rolly C. Teng):
          Today’s Gospel tells us to be fruitful. God bestowed many gifts in us. Through our faith and trust in God, these gifts are entrusted to us. These gifts must be maximized and used well for the greater glory of God. Fulfilling our duty before God entails a great reward from Him at the end of our life.

           Pondering on the Gospel, I remembered my experience in the youth ministry. In December 2005 up to March of 2006, I was given an opportunity to represent the young people of the Philippines in the Young European Meeting held in Milan, Italy. I was sent to the Taize Community in France together with four other young people from the different dioceses and archdioceses of our country. I stayed there for three months and I learned many things. I met new friends and was able to learn different foreign cultures. My entire stay in the community was spent in prayer and building relationships with young people. The prayer was called Taize prayer. The prayer would run for less than an hour. This prayer was composed of silence, meditation, and, above all, lots of songs or chants. The songs used in the prayer were verses directly lifted from the Bible and they were sung repetitively. That community where I lived for three months was a community living in an ecumenical way of life.

          When I was there I had the chance to encounter different people with diverse religious backgrounds. Mostly they were Protestants, Anglicans, Orthodox, and even Atheists. Within the period of my stay in the community, I never experienced that we discussed our religions. They knew that I was a Catholic and I knew that they were not. We lived together, ate together, worked together and above all we prayed together. It was a good experience living with them knowing the fact that they were not Catholics. Humility was really present among us but above all was the love, which bound us together.

          Why am I sharing this experience of mine? Not every young leader in our archdiocese was given such opportunity. I am not saying that I deserved that gift but because of my faithfulness in the ministry and through my shared life to the young people, God asked me to take care of a bigger responsibility. In a way, God rewarded me with an experience that I would not forget for the rest of my life but it demanded another expectation from me.   

          I admit, when I returned to the country, I felt nervous because I knew a bigger responsibility in the archdiocese awaited me. I knew the exposure I had in the Taize community would bring a huge expected from me.  True enough, after the experience I became more committed, dedicated, and an active youth minister. Despite difficulties and pressures brought by the demands in college life, I persevered to be more faithful and trustful to my God and to my responsibilities.

          When God entrusts many gifts to us, definitely He will always look and wait for our fruits. A bigger responsibility awaits us. When we were baptized, God bestowed on us the gift of faith. Therefore, as we grow old we need to nourish this gift and share it to others. The graces we receive from God are not meant only for our own disposal but rather these gifts are meant to be shared to those people, living around us.

          Putting it in the seminary context, I am now in my fifth year of formation. Many things are unfolded to me already, many things have I learned about who I am and about my God. A greater challenge now is being asked of me on how I will live out and share these things I have learned to others, because I am here in the seminary not for my own, but rather for the people and greater glory of God. Amen!

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