February 22, 2015

The Gospel Today

First Sunday of Lent

Mark 1:12-15

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Reflection (Sem. Jasper Bautista):

What is your desert? In the earliest days, some people resort to contemplating in the desert. We will surely ask, why the desert? Why not at the top of the mountain? Why not reflect along the beach or the coastlines?

The desert is barren, dry, and full of snakes. There is scarcity of water and food and has extreme temperature that would really challenge one’s commitment to pray and discern. Physically, one struggles in the desert. It is quiet and, most especially, there will be very minimal people or even none, that would disturb you. It is a paradigm of a place for meditation. This is the very reason why many hermits and monks retire in the desert for their whole life. The serenity and the ordeal in the desert will surely develop someone spiritually and mentally.

Taking into account the connotation of desert today, it would mean one’s daily struggles in life. It may symbolize hardships but then if we endure like Christ as He was led in the desert and tempted, we will be victorious. The Gospel tells us to persevere, repent, and believe.

I have numerous adversities when I entered the seminary. First and foremost is that my comforts in life were given up. Financial and material luxuries were parted with to give way for a modest life. Now I appreciate the simplicity of things and I wholeheartedly trust God for my needs. He does provide.

Second, I had difficulty in getting more sleep during my first weeks. I am used to waking up anytime I wanted since my job is home-based and I normally sleep seven to eight hours or maybe a little more. But then I managed to wake up every four o’clock in the morning and always look forward to greet and thank the Lord for the breath of life, the new day and being with Him in my morning prayers and in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Third, I have to study again. I was worried I may not be able to function well in academics because the last time I studied was sixteen years ago. After finishing the first semester which has more subject than any other semester in my five-year engineering course, I made it… I thought it will be hard for me to learn again but then, learning by heart will always make things easier, especially with the lessons regarding my faith and spirituality.  It has always inspired me.

These are just few of the struggles which I thought I will not make through but I have been getting by it. The secret? Do your very best with all your tasks and undertakings and pray to God for assistance. We should trust and believe in His words and offer our hardships to Him.

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