The Gospel Today
Wednesday after Epiphany
After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.
Reflection (Sem. John Paul S. Adia)
Why do I love a person? Do I love a person because I can get something from him? Or, do I love him because I have privileges to enjoy? In this world where the focus is profit, genuine love may be difficult to find for some. There is always this longing for satisfaction. There is this emptiness that needs to be filled. There is this achievement that needs to be reached. We are relatively divided by utilitarianism. This division removes the importance of presence.
Today’s Gospel shows the unbelief of the disciples despite the miracles and words that Jesus gave them throughout His ministry. But rather than to be angry, He looked at the other perspective with compassion and became merciful to them amid their lack of faith.
The hardened heart will never be satisfied. It will always doubt things. In the passage, I asked: Is God’s presence doubtable? As I reflected upon it, I looked on my relationship with God. If I never had a relation with Him nor experienced an encounter with Him, then I can never experience His presence in my life. I can utter my love for God, but the personal relationship with Him would say how true it is.
In seminary formation, the storms, which are the struggles of my vocation, are always present. Even during my first year, I experienced these but I am always invited to develop this personal relationship with God. I reached the point that I even doubted if what I am heeding is a vocation or I am just trying to convince myself that I have that vocation.
With that, I looked back to the invitation of our seminary rector to develop discernment. What is God telling me? I believe that this is true and will be true throughout my years of formation and even beyond. To know that is to listen first. But before I can listen, I should know His presence. And, to know His presence is to establish that personal relationship with Him in which I can confidently say that despite the noise of my anxieties and struggles, I know that God is with me. I can hear Him saying, “Take courage, it is I, do not fear” (Mk. 6:50).