The Little Sampaguita Girl

April 11, 2017

Tuesday of Holy Week

Today’s Gospel

John 13:21-33, 36-28

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”

Reflection (Sem. Justin G. Gatus)

A few months before entering the seminary, one morning after attending the morning Mass, I met a sampaguita vendor in the patio of a Church. She approached me and asked me to buy her sampaguitas. I bought some and asked her how old she was. She told me that she is nine years old. Then I exclaimed “Oh you are so young! Where are your parents? Do they know that you are selling sampaguitas?” She replied, “Yes kuya they know it. They are also sampaguita vendors. This is my way of helping them to earn money for our living.” After her reply, I bought all of her sampaguitas as I leave teary-eyed. I was touched by her simple act of sacrifice for her family. Even now, it still brings tears to my eyes.

Her simple act is a big thing given her situation. So young, yet she was willing to give her time that could be spent either in studying or even playing. We may know of a person who has a similar story as her—the story of a selfless sacrifice. This is also true for all parents; for all mothers and fathers who are working and giving their all in order to feed their children and their family. And no greater example can be thought of except the story of the One who laid down His life for us—Jesus. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is asking us if we are willing to lay down our lives for Him. As we observe the Holy Week, we ask the grace of God to give us strength, courage, and willingness to lay down our lives for those in need. Even a simple act of kindness, of self-sacrifice, or self-giving, without expecting of anything in return, will be our share in Jesus’ passion and death.

In my seminary formation, I pray for the grace that I may always be willing to sacrifice for others. The invitation for me is to always think about this: What am I willing to lay down for Jesus, through others, today?

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