The Gospel Today
Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”
Reflection (Sem. Mark Joseph G. Verdadero)
“Always be ready.” Those were the first few words that came to my mind as I read today’s Gospel. God desired us to be prepared for everything that might come our way as we go through our life journey. God did not promise an easy way. He wants us to carry our cross, to always be attentive and aware of the sufferings that we would encounter. Life is a battle between good and evil. Many times, as we carry our own cross, we may feel alone in our journey. We can feel the pain through failures and bad experiences in life.
Following Christ as He carries His cross is not an easy task. I remember that moment when I responded to God’s call to enter the seminary. I knew that I needed to prepare myself physically and, especially, spiritually for my vocation to priestly formation.
Preparation was not easy and the process was difficult. I knew myself as a non-religious person and not really good in academics. But as I prepared to enter the seminary, I conditioned and readied myself to handle the pressures inside the seminary.
God wants us to be formed in His way. It is up to us if we are willing to accept the cross and live like Christ as we go on our journey. Be always ready and trust in the Lord for whatever challenges we encounter.