The Gospel Today
Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist
John 20:1, 2-8
On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we do not know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
Reflection (Sem, John Paul Adia):
Letting go is a way of seeing the greater or bigger picture. Mary Magdalene was at first clinging on the memory of Jesus’s death that she was not able to recognize the glorious resurrection of Jesus in front of her. This is somehow an invitation for me to breakout from my regrets and insecurities. I should let my own tomb be empty. I should let Christ live in me.
In the midst of my grief, to whom shall I cling to? I am struggling so much with my activities. I am almost torn apart because of the pressure that I am facing with the activities in our seminary. I keep on telling myself that glory will be soon, but I am too tired. I wanted to cry aloud because I want freedom from this feeling of exhaustion and pressure. Maybe, when Mary Magdalene was grieving, she would always look for a venue for her to unload her burden and for me that was the tomb of Jesus Christ. In my seminary life, the tomb that I may say I am visiting especially with this kind of struggles is the tabernacle. I am sitting in front of it telling Him all the hardships that I am facing. There is this certain relief that I am feeling whenever I am doing this.
Christ’s resurrection strengthens our faith. Without this event, our faith is nothing. And the moment that He told Mary Magdalene to tell the apostles that He lives again, for me this is an invitation to proclaim that Jesus is really alive. He is with us in our life.
I am having my apostolate in the hospital and this is a big challenge for me to help the patients see that God really works in our lives. I am praying that everytime I would enter the institution, people would see me as the image of Christ who is compassionate and merciful especially to those who are weighed down by illnesses.
We are now celebrating the feast of St. John who emptied himself for him to welcome Christ in his life. He witnessed the suffering and death of Jesus. He is the lone apostle who did not experience physical martyrdom (though he was persecuted and was physically tortured). He was poor. For me, this was a great emptying of one’s self. He has nothing but he continued to trust the Lord and preached the Gospel.
There were many instances in my seminary formation that I felt like I do not have any security anymore. I had many requirements and I have very limited time. I had commitments and I do not know where to start. I think that this semester is the most tiring and fully loaded of all the schedules and commitments I had starting from the time that I was a college student. But what am I insecure of? I am afraid of falling short of what was expected of me. I am afraid of so many things. But as I prayed in front of the tabernacle, I was reminded that I am clinging on the experience of comfort when I was still free to spend whatever I want with my own time. I am half-hearted when it comes to my prayers. And so as the first step to my self-emptying, I let go of those days and embraced the present time when I am continuously formed even outside the seminary institution. With this, I realized that I should be thankful because graces are really abundant. I am still able to smile or laugh. I see that the members of my family are in good health. And I was able to return to the seminary not thinking if I can still sustain. It is through emptying of myself that Jesus can be present to me. I hope and I pray that with this realization, may God continuously give me the strength in entrusting myself to Him despite the difficulties that I am experiencing. May St. John and St. Mary Magdalene be an example to my seminary formation.