April 10, 2015

The Gospel Today

Friday in the Octave of Easter

John 21:1-14

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.
Reflection (Sem. John Paul S. Adia)

Jesus resurrected from the dead in order to renew all things. We are already saved from the slavery of sin but how is it that we are still going back to the own empty tomb? In this part of the story from the gospel, I would like to focus on the disposition of the disciples when they first encountered Jesus after His resurrection. If the good news has been said, then why was that it is hard to hold or grasp? I believe that in every unrecognizing, attention is lacking.

As I read the passage, I was led to a reflection on how important transcending is. It is easier for a person to hold on pains. It is a lot difficult to move on – to address one’s self. For some months in my formation, I use to cling on the negative experiences that I had: the difficulties of being with other seminarians; the clashing of personalities; the failing expectations; personal issues and woundedness. These are my deaths that continuously call for resurrection – renewal with Jesus Christ. I was left with bewilderment of the experiences but as I moved forward with my formation, the everyday challenge to transcend was becoming stronger.

What is lacking when I am stuck with my own deaths? What should I look at? First, what is the present situation, and secondly, how am I seeing myself. To further reflect on these two, I would like to focus on my experience when I entered the seminary.

Our seminary is an institution that accepts those who are so-called “late vocations.” But aside from having professional background and experiences, we also have numerous personalities and values. We have our own way of living especially when we were still outside the institution. But despite all of these, we are expected to “die” from our old self (our former ideals and values) and be renewed with Christ as we heed the call for priesthood.

Things were never as easy and as smooth. Purification of our intention lets us experience pains and disappointments. I too have the same sentiments. I cried for some times during my first few months of stay. It was painful to receive feedbacks. It was burdensome to do my responsibilities. It was very hard to manage my requirements in my academics. Everything was tearing me that I even uttered, “If I am still a nurse, I would not experience such kind of difficulties.” But my everyday stay is a call to transcend from my “deaths.” I cannot be left in my tomb.

As a response, I observed other people and myself. I had undergone some personality development or self-assessment programs that I was able to utilize in addressing some personal issues or difficulties. I observed and tried to transcend or to go beyond the experiences that I had and will still be facing.

Transcending experience is not denying the deaths but rather looking at a brighter perspective that can bring joy. God has renewed me for so many instances. I believe that I can never endure this second year of my formation without Him letting me see the beauty of “death.” In my own “death” there is salvation. And I believe that this is true for everyone. That behind every painful experience, God can still transform it into a grace-filled one.

This coming Easter, I would like to hold on to the invitation that the gospel says at the last part, “Then they went out and fled from the tomb.” I am taking this as an everyday invitation to walk and seek God that is never conquered by death but rather resurrected. I would like to take this as a challenge that, in every struggle that I am facing and will be facing, I will continue the journey of my “call.”

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