January 18, 2015

The Gospel Today

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

John 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —,
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah” — which is translated Christ —.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas” — which is translated Peter.

Reflection (Sem. Eldrick S. Peña)

“What are you looking for?”  This is the question Jesus asked the two disciples who came to follow Him when he passed by in today’s gospel.  I am drawn to this question for its existential significance.  An inquiry to the deepest intentions and motives that I have in my life.  It also seems that it is a rhetorical question Jesus is also asking me while I reflect on the Gospel passage.  “What am I looking for?”

In this life, everyone is seem to be pre-occupied in searching for meaning – for things, people and events that could give significance to their existence.  Some are drawn to building up a career, to establishing and maintaining relationships, to possessing material things thinking that having all these would make them happy but still, many of them end up lonely and un-contented of what they have.  What would really bring them to the pinnacle of their satisfaction and be contented with it?

Before my entrance to the seminary, I was very much focused on building a career in Education.   I had many plans for my future and things seem to be turning out the way I had planned and wanted them to be.  For many years, I was one of the best faculty members of our institution – doing research, instruction, and community extension; while pursuing post-graduate education.   I was entrusted with many responsibilities aside from being a middle level administrator and also, I had the chance to be elected in the board of a regional and national professional organizations.  I was in the summit of my professional career!  But still, there was this longing within myself for something else – something that cannot be satisfied by the professional success that I was then enjoying.

After much prayer and discernment, I realized that I am being called to the priesthood.  So I applied at Holy Apostles and luckily, I got accepted.  When I opened up my plans of entering the seminary to my superiors, they were shocked and some of them even cried.  Many people, even close associates were saying that I wasted the career that I had established and built for many years and the vast opportunities that await me in the Academia.  But I was strong willed and convinced. It was not always what I want.  I also have to consider what God wants for me so I took the great plunge!  I resigned from my teaching post and entered the seminary at age 35.

It had been three years, and the fame and the influence associated with being a respected educator had waned but I continue to remain happy with my decision to enter the seminary.  I could now answer the question Jesus posted: “What are you looking for?”  And the answer is “I am looking for Him, and there is no greater joy in having found Christ – my Master and model.”  I will end my reflection with the statement of commitment I drafted when I participated in the Vocation Discernment Seminar of our seminary three years ago.

“I have sought the Lord and I think I found Him here.  And if it is God’s will that I become a priest, then here I am Lord, I have come to do Your will.”

What are you looking for?  It is my prayer that finding the answer to this question will lead you towards greater peace and happiness; and also contentment in your life.  God loves you.

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