February 5, 2015

The Gospel Today

Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

Mark 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Reflection (Sem. Jorge Santiago, Jr.):

Our Gospel speaks about how Jesus sent the apostles to their mission. Jesus also gave them the instruction not to bring anything except to wear their sandals, a stick and a tunic and they have to travel in pairs. As I reflected on the Gospel today, there were two things that came into my mind. One was the dependence on God and the other was the assurance of God.

The instructions were clear not to bring anything. This was quite unusual for people who were travelling. I remember when I traveled, I saw to it that everything was organized and well prepared and thought of. And even in the olden days when they travel, they would bring in their supply for the duration of the travel so that they would survive. But looking deeper into it, the disciples were called and sent to have deeper trust in Jesus. It was He who instructed them not to bring anything even their own personal comfort. It was sufficient that they trust God and focus on the mission that they were called to do. Like the disciples, there were many occasions in the formation that I experienced such. Overcoming my fears during oral exams, community activities, delivering skills during recollection giving, etc.

I was only armed with what I have learned but His grace overcame my fears and had pulled me through for the past five years. To be independent from Him for the task that I know is my weakest point. Going out of my comfort zones to reach out to a brother in need, a task to be finished or a report that is due on the same day, is just God’s way of saying that even if I have my own share of the task, He will make things happen.

Moreover, God assured the disciples. It might be easier for them to perceive that they are not travelling alone since they have somebody to talk to. Most often, when I am walking and talking to someone, I would barely notice that I already walked for too long because my attention was on the discussion and not the distance that I took. It is as if God is saying, “I am with you” through the other person. It is seeing God in others. Just like in the saying, “When God brought you into it, He sees you through it.” Despite the many challenges, God will always be there to help. His grace continues to follow that I am awed by it. This assurance I receive everyday through the different people I meet, the task I am able to finish even if I know that I am not capable of doing, and the deepening of faith that I continually embrace.

Just like St. Agatha, whose memorial we celebrate today, she was dependent on God in order for her to stand firm on her faith and make a conviction despite persecution and trials. Likewise, God continually invites me to apply these two ideas; the dependence on Him and holding on to His assurance on a daily basis. Prayer and action are the responses I need to do in order for me to be able to fulfill the mission He has called me to do.

I pray that when you hear God’s call, in whatever way, you may have the courage to respond. Rest assured that He would see you through it. With the intercession of our Blessed Mother, Mary, we will be guided and comforted by her Son especially during the times of trials and pain; that He will provide what we truly need for our mission here on earth.

St. Agatha, pray for us.

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