July 2, 2017
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
Jesus said to his apostles:
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is a righteous man
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because the little one is a disciple—
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
REFLECTION (Sem. Eldrick S. Peña)
Today’s Gospel tells us that loving entails sacrifice. And this is what everyone who wishes to follow Christ is invited to do. I can still remember a homily delivered by one of our formators. He said, “Everyone who loves, suffers; but not all who suffers, loves.”
The statement somehow communicates the interior motivation of the person who truly loves. A person who is willing to love is willing to suffer – and it doesn’t matter how much and how long. His love for the other is already enough encouragement to bear the suffering that goes with the loving. That is the kind of love that Jesus showed to us on the cross; and that is the love that a true disciple should be willing to embrace.
In my vocation as a priest-in-process, I could say that I have sacrificed so many things already in order to follow Christ. But if I will always be focusing on what was lost, I will not be truly happy. There will always be the regret and the question: “What if, I did not enter the seminary?” But my experiences in the seminary tell me not to focus on what was lost but rather, on what I gained; and continue to gain. And that is a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
True happiness I could say can be achieved not by success or the affirmation that you will receive from others but by the fact that in your journey through life – you are conscious that you are not alone – Jesus accompanies you throughout the long journey and manifests Himself constantly in the people and events in your life – good or bad. That makes each experience a real encounter with Jesus the Master – way, truth and life.
My prayer is that I make the imitation of Jesus the Good Shepherd and the possession of a heart like His as my only standards in my journey as a priest and process no matter how hard and difficult it is. All for the Father’s greater glory. AMEN.