Self-denying in Following

August 11, 2017
Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin
The Gospel Today
Matthew 16:24-28

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

REFLECTION (Sem. Tristan Ralf Q. Pacheco)

Two months have just passed when one of my batchmate left the seminary.

After our classes that fateful Friday, with a shaky voice, he clearly articulated the news that surprised us. He will be leaving the seminary. He said his goodbyes. And there we are, in tears.

During the afternoon mass he announced to the whole community his departure and it was a heavy moment for me. Since our entry in the seminary, I started to dream for our batch. I immediately considered them as family since I was away from my own family. He is family.

Dinner came, then sports, and the fellowship followed. And in all those events, while participating, actively, deep inside, I was sad. It was hard losing a member of the family.

The next day was our first apostolate weekend. We were oriented what kind of apostolate we will be doing and that would be an “apostolate of presence” to selected families in the assigned parishes. We were expected to be with our foster families all through the weekend. Our time would be spent living with them and even listening to their stories. We must be a living presence of Jesus to the family where we will be staying.

And it struck me. I cannot be going through with that grief. I cannot the real presence of our Lord with them if I am still in this sadness. I cannot give my whole heart listening to them if deep inside I am immersed in loneliness. I must forget myself. I must set aside my own sadness so that I may do what God wants of me at the moment. I composed myself as I prepare for that morning. I remembered that our Lord, during His short stay on earth, despite of tiredness and fatigue, stayed with the people, healing the sick, listening and sympathizing to their woes. With peace and cheerfulness, I had given myself to our apostolate. I had one of the best weekend in my seminary life and I hope my foster family also feel blessed to have me.

The Gospel today reminds us that for us to follow Christ, we must take up our cross and deny ourselves. It is never hard to deny oneself and follow Someone who has forgotten Himself completely – to love others.

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