The Gospel Today
Saturday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind,
and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
Reflection (Sem. Philip Faustino S. Volante)
One of the most memorable apostolate experiences I had so far was during summer of last year, when I was assigned together with some of my brother-seminarians from the diocese to care for the indigenous people in a far-flung town in Bulacan. It was there where I complained to God just like the apostles, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” And from that experience, I also heard God’s loving answer in the most unusual, but touching way.
In that apostolate area, there was no electricity, no signal for cellphones and internet connection. Our food was mostly canned goods. The worst part was, there was no allotted comfort room to do your morning rituals!
But what I feared the most during that time was the uncertainty of what might happen to us in the place. The possibility of getting hurt and no one could help you. We might get into trouble with the villagers or with wild animals – so many thoughts were starting to cloud my mind. I felt like I was stripped off of everything that I have and left alone in a deserted place. At one point, I complained to God in my prayer that I was having difficulties in this apostolate.
But I was so surprised when I went outside of our tent (since we did not have a decent house to stay in) and saw how plenty the stars were and how wonderfully they adorned the dark sky. It was as if God was telling me that His grace is like those of the stars in the night, that no matter how dark the sky may be, it would still penetrate into the darkness to light my path.
It is true that life in our apostolate area was difficult, but God still provided us with our daily food. We never got sick while we were there. We went back to the seminary complete and unharmed. Most of all, we went home filled with stories and lessons that we will forever treasure in our hearts.
In times when we feel that God has abandoned us and has no concern for us, it is where we realize even more that God is with us all along, guiding us and supporting us go through our difficulties in life. God is always with us through people, experiences and things that He surrounds us with. What we need to do is to just open our eyes to see His grace that is around us.