The Gospel Today
Monday of the Third Week of Lent
Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
“Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel
in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.
Reflection (Sem. Jonathan Cigaral):
“No prophet is accepted in his own native place.”
Have I already accepted Jesus Christ in my heart? Is being in the seminary an tantamount that I have fully embraced Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior? How do I know that my heart is not like that of those people from the native place of Jesus who drove Him out after hearing the words that He uttered? These are few questions which lingered in my thoughts after reading the Gospel.
Before I entered the seminary, I lived a life full of sinfulness. Despite God’s graciousness, I turned my back on Him and enjoyed life not in accordance to His will. But time came when He made me realize that true happiness could not be found in my worldly desires. I searched for what it is that would really give joy in me. In search for that joy that I was longing for, I heard God’s voice calling me to follow him. And so I decided to enter the seminary. But before I finally answered the call of God, I thought I must submit myself first to the sacrament of penance. I thought I need to be reconciled with Him after all the things that I have done. And so I did visit a priest who heard my confession. I made a confession of my sins as a sign of my reconciliation between myself and God.
The life inside the seminary is different from how I expected it before I entered. All the while I thought that being in the seminary would be easier for me to avoid sin. I thought that being with the people who are longing to establish an intimate relationship with God, like me, avoiding sin would be easier. But it was the other way around. The closer I get to Jesus Christ, the stronger the temptations are. Weak as I am, I continually committed sin. In so many times that I gave into these temptations, these are the same instances that I shunned away Jesus Christ. These are concrete acts which I did not accept Him in my heart. He was always there to remind me not to sin but I opted to do otherwise. My heart became like that of those natives of His place who drove Him away.
The Gospel is an invitation for me to always have an open heart to accept Jesus. I need to allow Him to penetrate deep within my soul so as He would always live within me and help me shun away the occasion of sin. I need to make my prayer life stronger as before. If there is one thing that is really getting stronger as I follow Jesus Christ, it is the devil who finds all the possible ways for me to shun Jesus away from me.